Critical Perspectives: Masculinity in Breaking Bad

This book is comprised of a series of round table discussions and essays written by academics, discussing how masculinity is portrayed in the television series “Breaking Bad”. There are ten chapters and a large annotated bibliography as well as an episode list.

The book is heavily academic so for those looking for episode recaps or easily accessible discussion this is not the book for you. It is definitely tilted toward university and college academics and those interested in academic discussions of popular culture. To that end, the book is high quality and is a very viable piece of source material for those who want to use it as such.

Some of the essays are better than others. Those that I liked, while maintaining an academic tone, also were more reader friendly and made the reader feel a part of the conversation. A couple of the essays were almost arrogant in tone, talking down to the reader. Those also happened to be the ones that were far less well written.The round table discussions were interesting and well put together making them easy to follow.

The one thing I think I found most disappointing about the book was that every essay and discussion focused on the same limited number of episodes. In five seasons of “Breaking Bad” there was plenty of material and characters that could have been discussed in relation to masculinity in this series. Most of the writing focused solely on Walter and Skyler White.

The book could have been much stronger if more of the episodes had been discussed in relation to the subject matter. I also think there could have been some positive critical perspectives about masculinity from both sexes. It felt like the masculinity being explored was less critical analysis and more just critical.

All of that being said, I would still recommend the book. Once I started reading, I was hooked and my interest never wavered. I found it hard to put down and I was always looking for a bit of time to read a few more pages or another chapter. If you like “Breaking Bad” this is a fun book with heavy ideas on which to chew.


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