Monday, October 7, 2013

Rage: True Stories by Teens About Anger edited by Laura Longhine

Very few opening lines have more potential to grab a detainee’s attention than one that places the reader in media res while the narrator is making a guilty plea to a judge. Fred W.’s “Loose Cannon” does just that, taking the reader from the courtroom to a secure detention facility (Goshen),  and on to an outpatient drug treatment program.  Natasha Santos’ “Bum-rushed by the Past” follows with a similarly strong opening: “This is the story of a girl born in the projects, neglected by her parents, and tormented by memories of families she is no longer a part of.  It’s about how I spent six years in foster care and got adopted.”  While the collection’s diversity of perspectives may make it difficult for reluctant and developing readers to consume cover to cover, the topical themes will motivate more sophisticated readers to explore the panoply of voices in these seventeen stories.  Notably, all of the seventeen were written by teens and they are complemented by an end interview with Toni Heineman, therapist, who discusses healthy and unhealthy ways to express anger.  ELA teachers looking for personal essays as well as bridges between short stories and memoirs will want to check this out.  Social workers will want to have a copy of Rage on hand to direct students to piecemeal.  ---Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Longhine, Laura.  Rage:  True Stories by Teens About Anger.  Minneapolis:  Free Spirit Publishing, 2012.

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