A well-told tale of a young filmmaker’s progress.
This autobiography—here as in all things, the 26-year-old Jenks is a fast starter—is a steady and revealing window into Jenks’ life. With considerable brio, he not only charts his filmmaking precociousness, but tenders what are often aching glimpses into his personality. These range from his challenging youth (as for puberty, “I hadn’t become a man but a huge baby”) to his present-day whirl of activity. And it is a wonderful thing to witness Jenks letting the ants in his pants get to work. In high school, he was already getting into hot water with his short documentaries for the local free TV station (the pizza guys didn’t like him dissing their product). He moved on to highly imaginative works that included a tender portrait of an assisted-living home (when he was 19) and nine months in the life of maverick baseball coach Bobby Valentine (in Japan). From there, he went to an MTV show that documents everything from a homeless youth to horse slaughter farms in Miami, with the emphasis on his determination to connect kids with the issues. None of this was a gimme; Jenks worked like a dog for it all, though obviously with more than a spoonful of native talent.
One happy and spirited object lesson in what tenacity can bring. (Nonfiction. 10 & up)