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Editorial Reviews

Laura Sessions Stepp's Unhooked is an intriguing and informative glimpse into the realm of hookup culture as it is currently playing out among contemporary high school and college students. Stepp tracks three groups of adolescent and post-adolescent women as they navigate the stormy waters of sex and love in the modern world, seeking insight into their perceptions of physical and emotional intimacy, and asking hard questions about how they handle - and choose not handle - romance and relationships.

Ellen Archer is a lively performer who brings a strong, sharp energy to this audiobook, and her clear articulation guides listeners with ease through Stepp's thought-provoking expedition into the brave new world of modern love.

Publisher's Summary

An eye-opening examination of the "hookup" culture, seen through the personal experiences of high-school- and college-age women who confront the hard lessons of dating, love, and sex.

We're living in an increasingly sexualized world, and it's the young, particularly young women, who must deal with the consequences. Kids are having more sexual contact than ever, and at an earlier age. They call it "hooking up". But what is "hooking up"? According to Laura Sessions Stepp, a reporter at the Washington Post, hooking up eludes a neat definition. It can be anything from an innocent kiss to sexual intercourse.

In Unhooked, Stepp follows three groups of young women (one in high school, one each at Duke and George Washington Universities). She sat with them in class, socialized with them, listened to them talk, and comes away with some disturbing insights, including her finding that hooking up carries with it no obligation on either side. Relationships and romance are seen as messy and time-consuming, and love is postponed or, worse, seen as impossible. Some young women can handle this, but many can't, and they're being battered physically and emotionally by the new dating landscape. The result is a generation of young people stymied by relationships and unsure where to turn for help.

"The need to be connected intimately to others is as central to our well-being as food and shelter," Stepp writes in Unhooked. "In my view, if we don't get it right, we're probably not going to get anything else in life right."

©2007 Laura Sessions Stepp (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This insightful study is vivid and engaging, and includes a practical conversation guide for mothers and daughters, making it a valuable text for parents that goes beyond the latest the-kids-are-not-alright headlines." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elton
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 04-19-07

Essential Reading for Parents

I have read other reviews that really fail to get the importance of what Seesions is trying to say. As a society the US needs to stop and take a collective look in the mirror. It's not about taking a far right or left stand, it's about looking at attitudes and behavior patterns that are healthy and productive. In the current psychological state of individuality and freedom of self expression many people have neglected their obligations not only to others, but also to themselves. This book is a really good book for girls and women, but it is important for men, and essential for parents of boys or girls. Worth the listen.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joel
  • Denver, CO, United States
  • 12-06-09

For every parent, and young woman

To understand my review, it may be best to describe myself. I grew up in the culture just barely before that of these girls studied in this book. I'm still of the 'old school' who opens doors and expects a woman to be worthy of a date, though I date women from this generation - I've done the "hook up" for many years and have grown past it. This book describes, in honest "in-your-face" detail, the way most younger adults now think. The real lesson is that this is a review on an entire culture, not just women and sexuality.

Probably the best audience for this book is for young women themselves, but immediately thereafter for parents of young women. And by young women, I mean 12-14 year old women. Yes, specifically that young, because whether you like it or not, or you think it or not...your daughters are who this is book is nodding towards. And if you think "not my daughter", then it's even MORE likely your daughter could be reviewed in the next revision.

I think ths book would help you to read/understand your children. Read their problems and pressures, their emotions and their fears. Stop acting like "they're too young." You don't get to decide that any more. You gave up that right when you expected them to act like adults at 14. If you want to take any semblance of that back, then you need to learn to communicate with them and talk openly about the things you DON'T like to think are happening. And to do that, you need to actually know the truth. Not just what you want to hear.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ellen
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 03-02-09

Sound advice until the end

I think this book has some very sound advice about pulling back from the hookup culture -- but the author completely blows it in the last chapter. The advice she gives at the end is ridiculous. Bake cookies to make men fall in old-fashioned love with us? That didn't work back in my day either. I wish someone modern, without as much of a political ax to grind, would write a book on how to pull back from the hookup culture and do it in a modern way. The author is right on how hookup culture hurts people (in my opinion.) Her advice on how far to pull back takes us not back to the 50's but to the 1910's. I doubt baking cookies made men fall in love with women in 1910 either. I can't remember everything else in that last chapter full of advice how to change our behavior but it deserved every bit of ridicule it got from the feminist blogs. The last chapter almost negated the rest of the book because it was so retro.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 12-21-09

Scary... yet a fantastic book!

I hate to think that this is the way the next generation is going to be growing up, but we have to face the reality of things.I feel mostly for the young girls who grow up with a lowered sense of self-esteem and tarnished reputations (let alone a high probability STD's, pregnancies and abortions), but we can't forget the young boys who will shortly be grown into young men and the regard that I have for women and relationships.

I highly recommend this book, and for every parent to make it time to sit down and go over it with their preteens and teenage children. I know that most young people feel that they have all the answers, but this is where we as adults can really step up and help them along the way.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Amazing

This book was extremely eye opening, I had some ideas/theories of the sexual cultures of teens/college students. But this book had me riveted and thinking about it for days. I've recommended it to all my friends.
The audio book is also narrated really well. I really really recommend this book!!!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Slut shaming at worst, biased investigation reporting at best

At worst this is slut shaming. At best it's a good in-depth read investigation into intimate relationships from the 16-20 y.o. female perspective. Unfortunately, the research is overshadowed by the slutshaming preaching and the judgement the other has for anyone who has sex outside a 'long term" relationship.
With nonfiction scientific research books I rarely rarely dislike a book.
I may have differences of opinion with the author, as long as the facts are presented everyone is entitled to their own conclusions. Give the readers the opportunity to form their own conclusions.
I do take issue with authors who present only one side of an argument as if EVERY fact only points one way. This is seldom the case.
An author who presents their story as 'scientific research" but is little more then interviews or 'case studies' with less then 10 peopleand then their stories cherry picked for things that proves the authors points should hardly b considered scientific.
That being said let's talk about the book.
This an editorial book that stems from a series of articles the author wrote on the topic.
She has an opinion, which is fine, but it's wrapped in the cloak of scientific research.
This book is really a giant book about slut shaming. If a relationship fails it's because of sex, if you have sex the relationship will fail. If you have sex outside a "long term" relationship it will fail. It will also make your future relationships fail. She doesn't address the reason girls have sex as the underlying symptoms and how the same issues, insecurities, seeking acceptance etc. She says if you have sex early or often you won't be happy.
She gives no weight to women who gain happiness and even goes to extremes to show how successful women make mistakes in sex.
She then wraps it up with fear mongering slut shaming saying this like "what happens when you show up to a cocktail party and realize you've had sex with ever one there?". What?!?! Really? Her scientific research says this happens often eh?
Or this gem, "how will you feel when your coworkers see a video of you on the internet in an intimate interaction with your lover at the time?" Right so revenge porn is the victims fault??? Cmon. This is book was done in 2007, I get it but I feel slut shaming wasn't ok then either.
This book has built a huge following upon parents and I hope it goes talking points for discussion between the parent and girl.
That is why it got 2 stars because it does give an eye opening first hand account of the teenage female brain on sex.
However, it's a whole inappropriate book for the young adult. You can imagine her preaching to her kids using scare tactics like "don't send ymany boys pictures of you in case some future job may seem them." Instead of discussing trust with a partner and expectations of what he will do with it. Or discussing how she is proud of her developing body and enjoys the appreciation of the guy if his desires etc.
This book had lots of potential had the author disregarded her own agenda of imposing her moral views on others.
She clearly spent a lot of time and energy as we as others times exploring the current hookup environment. That could have been invaluable information. It is too bad she twisted that into slut shaming. It is interesting to note she preaches at the parents and adults of the kids not the children as if they made these decisions out of ignorance and it's the parents fault because the kids are lost puppy dogs who don't know any better.
While I'm glad I read it due to the in-depth research of current romantic relationships, the judgement and preaching is hard to tune out.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just Another Way Feminism Screwed Women...

Armed with their moronic Marxist ideologies, radical feminists continue to claim that there are no innate differences in males and females (despite all the brain science and genetics and endocrinology to the contrary!), and insist not that men become more gentle, loving and patient, but rather that women become even more raunchy, lewd and emotionallessly sexual than the worst of men. This is the part of feminism that really baffles me--that is, it fetishizes the very things about men that it is supposed to despise. And who has suffered? Of course, the majority of women--that is, the ones who should have sense enough to see through the radical few trying to sell their political policies and not really giving a damn about the women and children they claim to be protecting. Read this book exposing our currently absurd sexual culture before it is declared hate speech and banned.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lee
  • Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, United States
  • 12-08-09

Very Good

Having two daughters myself, I found this book very informative. I was definitely worth it!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

How typical are the statistical sample

This is an interesting essay, and describe a social problem intelligently and analytically. However, the subject sampled and case studies seems like the sophisticated version of OC, not everyone were born with a silverspoon, nor does everybody goes to Duke Uni or GWU, and I am sure those rich, smart and ambitious girls do not make more than 30% (if lucky) what about the rest of us? Do we even count?

1 of 2 people found this review helpful