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Thursday, 19 January 2012

America's Most Disillusioned Generation


Generation X is all grown up, but with one hell of an inferiority complex.
by 
Phil Stern

We were supposed to conquer the world, our first million in the bank by age 25. At worst, we’d live in plush homes, firmly established within lucrative, interesting, stable careers. Anything less was unthinkable.  
Of course, running companies was more our thing. Hey, the corner office was already picked out. A couple of years of business school, a few boring years paying our dues…and then our inner genius would take care of the rest. No problem.

Divorce? Screaming and yelling over the dinner table? That was our parent’s scene. We knew better, had a far greater understanding of human nature. We’d all be in stable marriages with loving, supportive spouses, our children paragons of health and well-being.

Not so long ago, say back in the 1980s and 1990s, fame and fortune was our birthright. Now, we’re all just struggling to pay the mortgage.


With The Bull Years, I wanted to write a novel for us, for everyone who thought they had the world at their feet, but instead, often found themselves kicked to the ground. It’s harder now than for most other generations, because our expectations were never managed. We were supposed to be kings and queens, always in control of our own fate. Instead, so many of us are just scrambling to get by.

At times, the self-alienation is almost overwhelming. Sophia Danton, one of the main characters in The Bull Years, says it best:

“I’ve come to realize we’re all two different people. Our younger, innocent self that’s inevitably mangled along the highway of life, and our tougher adult persona that evolves from the wreckage. Happiness comes from juxtaposing the two, nurturing the maimed spirit within you, welcoming it into your adult life and giving it the time and understanding you never received as a child, no matter how sane and loving your parents tried to be.”

It’s my hope that The Bull Years can help provide both the perspective, and the voice, that our generation needs. I think everyone will find something of themselves in the struggles of Steve, Sophia, Dave, and Hayley. Nothing’s held back. It’s all there, raw and uncensored.

We can all reconnect with that maimed spirit within ourselves, welcoming it to the here and now. It’s there. You may just not have seen it for awhile. Because to that younger, innocent version of yourself, the future remains as bright and glorious as it ever was.


Phil Stern is the author of both Contemporary and Science Fiction.
His d├ębut novel, The Bull Years, was published in 2011. A hard-hitting commentary on both the frustrations and ultimate validation of modern-day life.
“I wanted to write about characters everyone could relate to,” Stern says. 

Stern now lives in Florida, and is working on his next novel. 






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