Books by Janet Bode

CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

As in their previous collaborations (Colors of Freedom, Voices of Rape, not reviewed), Bode and Mack portray an issue through the voices of children and adults affected by it. Bode (recently deceased) interviewed preteens, their parents, and adult experts, and organized their responses into parts "For Girls and Boys" and "For Parents." In sections with titles like "Public Recognition" or "What's in Your Heart," her text, addressed directly to the reader, synthesizes many of the responses in a way that should comfort and challenge young and adult readers. At least half of the book is comprised of responses she gathered from her survey, some of which are illustrated in strips by Mack. The result is an engagingly designed book, with questions and topics in bold type so that readers can browse for the recognition they may be looking for. They will need to browse, as there is no index, and young readers will certainly be tempted by the "For Parents" section, and vice versa. A bibliography (with two Spanish titles) and list of Web resources (with mostly live links) will help them seek out more information. They may well have other questions—especially having to do with parents' sexuality—which they don't find answered here, but this is a fine and encouraging place to start. (print and on-line resources) (Non-fiction. 9-13)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1997

A number of books on eating disorders have been written for teenagers; Bode (Trust and Betrayal, 1995, etc.), acknowledging that these diseases are occurring among younger people—predominantly among preteen girls- -directs this book to that audience and their parents. It's clear from the opening pages that anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating are serious disorders with potentially fatal consequences; noting that the causes are rarely physiological, Bode discusses at length the psychological and social pressures that predispose children to begin the food fight that can destroy their lives and the lives of their parents and siblings, too. The tone of the book is compassionate but practical; Bode notes that families seeking help learn the hard way that many hospitalization plans do not cover therapy or treatment for bulimics or anorexics, even when hospitalization becomes necessary. With a useful list of organizations concerned with eating disorders, and a list of further reading, this solid and informative book should be made widely available to all those at risk. (notes) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: May 1, 1996

Bode and Mack (Heartbreak and Roses, 1994, etc.) have come up with a real eye-opener. Incarcerated teens who have committed serious crimes, their victims, and the counselors or other adults who work with them tell their stories without sugarcoating. Whether by intent or accident, two things stand out in the book: Most of the teens were victims of adults who did drugs and alcohol, who prostituted themselves to maintain their habits, who abused their offspring physically, emotionally, or sexually, or simply neglected them; second, the teenagers' accounts are characterized by a certain anomie that makes them all the more chilling. The boy who killed his mother when he was 13 says, ``I'm not even sure why I did it,'' and then lists all the little things that resulted in the murder. In these pages are juveniles who killed siblings, tortured best friends, joined gangs, attempted suicide, robbed, and raped; their stories are brutal but also sad. Bode says the book is a ``wake-up call''; it is not for the fainthearted, but it should be available to all those in similar situations—whether perpetrators or victims. One teenager states it best: ``I don't want other kids to have to go through this. That's why I'm talking to you.'' Mack's harrowing black-and-white cartoons sound a wake-up call of their own. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: Feb. 1, 1995

Bode (Heartbreak and Roses, 1994, etc.) again probes the teenage psyche for insight into adolescent relationships. In this hyper-realistic observation of contemporary teenagers, friendship often takes a backseat to or is complicated by issues of self- esteem, abuse, drugs, and more. For one Chinese-American teen who leaves gang life behind, identity and peers are irrevocably linked when she says, ``What would you do if the only people who understand you are the people you are running away from?'' The most moving accounts are not the shocking ones, but the unvarnished attempts to communicate the importance of friendship and peer validation. Sensible, realistic fare. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
HEALTH
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

This is nonfiction on the raw, cutting edge, complete with Village Voice cartoonist Mack's illustrations to tell two of the stories, one about a young woman whose boyfriend's adult aspirations include joining the Klan. Violent, possessive love is not uncommon in the 12 stories featured, and the teens involved repeatedly trust too early or fall time after time for the lure of love as a way to solve problems. Headings jump out at the reader with their intensity, e.g., ``control,'' ``threats''; fact boxes appear here and there to add to data, a sample being information on courting as a ``game of abuse.'' The stories are more than eye- opening, perhaps the most moving being a tale of a girl in a wheelchair who has the least ease in staking out her love but nevertheless shows the most ego strength. Most of the other stories are turmoil-filled, from suicide attempts to a character's matter- of-fact revelation of having been ``raped so many times.'' One story's title, ``Naked Alone Together,'' tells it all. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
HEALTH
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Bode follows up her often-censored Kids Having Kids (1980) with a smorgasbord approach to such topics as sex, pregnancy, abortion, foster care, adoption, and parenting. Brief stories of teenagers' experiences—combined with small boxed statistical facts and followed by advice from the writer and adult professionals- -become sound bites, predictable in form, that will work especially well with consumers who spot-read sections most relevant to them. Emotionally, the stories don't make easy reading (e.g., in reports of pregnancy resulting from incest). At the close, Bode catches up with the storytellers, again using their tales to impart important information. Overall, what readers will find is the contrast between outcomes for mature teens and for immature adolescents who depend on their child's love to transform them. Glossary; notes; bibliography; index not seen. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Bode, who specializes in books about young people with problems, presents some kids whose problems are immense but who have managed to rise above them. The individual stories are believably told in the voices of the teens themselves; they range through the homeless, pregnant, handicapped, abused, addicted, or imprisoned to those fighting immigration authorities in order to remain in this country. For most, it's sheer inner strength that pulls them through; they cite such survival tactics as self-esteem, determination, devotion to studies, persistance, faith, and good mentors. Alternate chapters give the points of view of adults- -neighbor, counselor, psychologist, probation officer—who succinctly articulate survival skills; many have had bad times in their own youth. Bound to grip—and potentially valuable as a counseling tool. It says things that young people on the edge need to hear— Matthew's ``Don't limit yourself''; Rula's ``I am the only one of me. And I'm special''; or Keisha's enthusiastic ``I'm hot.'' Includes a final list of steps to success that are both feasible and rational. The single ``source note'' hardly seems worth a whole page; bibliography. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >

A rape survivor gathers interviews from other victims, offenders, and various professionals into a survey and handbook with powerful impact. Beginning with teenagers' responses to a questionnaire ("Is it okay for a boy to force a girl to have sex if[:] He spends a lot of money on her?. . .She's wearing sexy clothes? They're married?"—some of the boys said "Yes" to all of the questions), Bode goes on to lengthy accounts by different types of survivors and offenders, plus monologues by a social worker at a rape-crisis center; a psychiatrist for a juvenile-sex-offender treatment program (fiercely uncompromising); a nurse who explains exactly what should happen in the emergency room, and why, if the victim chooses to go there; a policeman (compassionate, sensible); a defending lawyer; a judge. The voices vary in tone and precision, but the message builds: the survivor is not guilty, and has a right to regain control of her life; the system has an obligation to help. There are a great many specifics here, unblinkingly delivered—enough to give might-be rapists pause and survivors comfort, though Bode admits that the criminal-justice system is not always supportive. Sturdy, forthright, detailed, essential information and advice. Source notes; bibliography; index. Read full book review >

A free-lance writer speaks to students, parents, and professionals about the intrigues, benefits, and difficulties of crossing conventional boundaries in dating relationships. Bode discusses how ethnic attitudes develop in children, how awareness of face has changed in the last several hundred years, how people classify others (willingly or un-willingly), and how special historical bitterness or sweetness sometimes exists between certain groups. But the crux here is the continuum of reactions by the daters and their families, as seen in detailed analyses of six couples, mostly interracial. When asked later whether these relationships are/were worth it, responses varied from "You bet" to "Wait and see" and "No way." Some of the inviting headings here are cuter than the down-to-earth content and advice; e.g., "Stares and Glares" opens serious discussion of how to reduce possible danger. There are also valuable comments on motivations, relationships' meanings, and how to avert crises. On the other hand, unnecessary details of the couples' parents' backgrounds detract from clarity and drama; there is little on interreligious crossovers; and a look at the future (a discussion with younger teens) fails to tie the book together and seems intrusive. Appendix of organizations: bibliography; videography; index. Read full book review >