YouthWorker Journal Review of Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of Boys

Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of Boys by Robert C. Dykstra, Allan Hugh Cole Jr. and Donald Capps, Westminster John Knox Press, 2007, 204 pp. $19.95

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Written by three seminary professors, Losers, Loners, and Rebels is well researched, with a wonderful bibliography on the psychological and spiritual development of boys. The premise of the book is that the spirituality of early adolescent boys is more likely to issue from experiences the boy considers negative than from experiences he considers positive. The book is divided into three sections, each written by one of the authors. The first section deals with self-awareness (the loser issue), the second focuses on self-transcendence (the loner issue), and the third investigates self-sufficiency (the rebel issue). Rather than an empirical study, each author draws from his own life experiences and the vicarious experiences of others to identify the positive spiritual development that grows out of the negative. Out of losing comes self-awareness. Loners can find solitude. Rebels develop personal conviction. If you desire a deeper understanding of the spiritual development of early adolescent boys (11—14 years), I would have difficulty finding a better resource for you. From investigating the “boy code” to the role of humor in rebellion, this book is worth the price—cover to cover. Losers, Loners, and Rebels is a great addition to your library.

Larry Lindquist

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