Book Review: Masterminds and Wingmen

masterminds and wingmen coverMasterminds and Wingmen: Helping our boys cope with schoolyard power, locker-room tests, girlfriends, and the new rules of boy world

By: Rosalind Wiseman

Masterminds and Wingmen, by Rosalind Wiseman, is a non-fiction book in a similar vein as her previous book, Queen Bees and Wannabees. While Queen Bees discussed the social dynamics of girls and young women, Masterminds and Wingmen tackles the inner thoughts of boys and young men. Wiseman challenges the notion that boys are inherently simpler or have “less drama” than girls and reveals through interviews and scenarios how much is going on in their lives.

Wiseman insightfully explains many common circumstances teenage boys experience and what that means for their friendships, their relationships with their parents, and their life at school. Rather than dismiss or reduce the challenges that boys face in their day to day life, Wiseman is encouraging and uplifting, writing from a place that speaks to young men on their level. This book is not a trite answer key that gives formulas, but offers some guidance for the people around the young men in question: their families, parents, and community.

The strongest aspect of the book is the interviews Wiseman has included with every topic she covers. Alongside each idea she broaches, statements from pre-adolescent to young adult men are presented – the concept in their own words. Not that Wiseman is not a worthy intelligence on her own, but the effort she’s taken to research and stay true to the common experience boys in North America face only makes the book stronger.

This book is aimed at primarily parents and teachers of teen boys, and likely the ones who will benefit most from it. However, it is an interesting read that exposes the environment in which men in North America grow up. Learning about how boys think and feel informs us in how they think and feel as adult men. Wiseman clearly states that this is not a huge secret to be kept from the young men in your life – rather the opposite. Several times she writes to suggest having a teen boy read it, to add to your experience. This is a valuable resource for everyone, for when we understand how young men are growing up, we all have the power to help change it for the better.

Masterminds and Wingmen is available in the SADI Resource section of the Pinawa Public Library.

Book review by Shannon.

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