The Nineties: A Book

Penguin Pr. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780735217959. $28. SOC SCI
Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs) dissects an iconic era that remains a mystery even to those who grew up during the 1990s. The decade of landlines, glossy magazines, and TV antennas propelled pop culture without social media or streaming services. There’s not much missing from this delightful collection of quotes and culture from the era that most find difficult to define. As Klosterman points out, “doing nothing was a valid option” and selling out was the worst sin you could commit. Apathy was appealing, slacking off was a career path, and a polished exterior was gag-inducing. A self-proclaimed demographic cliché himself, Klosterman points out pivotal moments in the era, such as the end of 1980s glam and the rise of 1990s aesthetic when Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit hit MTV, and grunge rock demolished an entire era of saxophones and Brat Pack wannabes. With humor and history (supported by articles, TV news segments, advertisements, and interviews), Klosterman’s volume is the perfect guide for millennials who wear vintage t-shirts ironically.
VERDICT From politics to Prozac, a fascinating exploration of Generation X from the perspective of those who lived it and witnessed it. Readers will be raiding closets for mom jeans and drawers for scrunchies after reading this nostalgia-inducing book.
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