I met John Green back in 2012, when I recently started teaching Social Studies to middle schoolers. And when I say that I met him, I meant that I found his Crash Course channel on YouTube and was immediately fascinated by how accessible it was, and how it led to dig deeper in some of the important issues. For me it served a dual purpose, it helped me reach the students in an interactive way by implementing inverted classroom strategies, and it helped them get a better hang of the English language that they were all struggling to get. And so, for a time, John Green was my teacher´s assitant, and for a time everything was good.
Later, in 2013 I was working on a project with Patrick Golding. We were working in a couple of projects to be honest, but this one in particular was kind of an excersise more than a proper project. We started working on a story and the premise was that each one of us would write a page, and then sent the document to the other to continue the story and write a page, and so on until the story was finished. There were only two conditions, that whoever started the story couldn’t finish it and that the story was going to follow a guy named Achilles. In that process, who is today my wife gave me the book Will Grayson/Will Grayson, by John Green. So once again John Green knocked on my door with a topical hand to help. This time showing me how two writers can work together on a single project. And even though the story that Patrick and I were writing grew up to become a novella, it has never been publiched. Until now!!… no, I’m kidding, that thing is not seeing the light of day.
Fast forward to 2021. We are in the middle (end?) of a pandemic and I am one day flipping thru Tik Tok and I see John Green signing random sheets of paper. Curiosity strikes and I find out that a new book is coming out, The Anthropocene Review. We bought the signed copy because why wouldn´t we want to; and while reading, thanks to the familiar and intimate way in which John Green writes it, and due to the fact that with the passage of the years the idea of him has become part of that mythological pantheon that has grown with us in the past decade and a half as citizens of the internet, I find that the book is a perfect reflection on what life has become to a lot of us.
The book follows a series of seemingly random topics that are reviewed, and thru the review theres a very personal reflection on how it reflects upon us as human in this, our very own time. The tone is conversational and intimate, sharing with us his fears, his faults, and his worries, but ultimately his hope that humanity is much more than what it is at its worse. For this he uses the now standard method of rating based on 5 stars that makes so little sense, and yet all the sense in our world.
The Anthropocece Review is in essence a series of essays. Of very personal essays coated with some historical and factual information, but with a very personal touch that make us feel more human at the end of it. At moments it feels like a hug, like a ray of sunshine or like a cup of morning coffee. At others it makes you feel that you want to give John Green a hug, under a ray of sunshine, while offering him a cup of morning coffe.
I give The Anthropocene Review 4 stars and I give John Green 5 stars.