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GOING WHERE I'M COMING FROM by Anne Mazer

GOING WHERE I'M COMING FROM

Memoirs of American Youth

By Anne Mazer

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1995
ISBN: 0-89255-205-0

 A companion volume to a previous anthology of fiction, America Street (not reviewed), this is an earnest collection of autobiographical essays by writers of various ethnic backgrounds. For some of these contributors, American culture is baffling: Ved Mehta gives his first impressions upon arriving in this country; Lee Daniels pens a fine period piece on finding his place as a black student at the highly traditional Boston Latin School in the 1960s. Inevitable, perhaps, are the struggles with parents, as when Graham Salisbury writes about growing up white in Hawaii under the thumb of a macho stepfather, or when Helen Epstein recreates the cacophony of dinnertime with her Czech immigrant mother and father. For others, poverty is a crucial, defining factor, as in Luis Rodriguez's memoir of Mexican ghettos in Los Angeles, and in Gary Soto's reminiscence of field labor. The caliber of the pieces ranges widely; several are so overwritten that they will be difficult for many teens. Of 14 essays, half have never been published. For that, and for frequent cultural insights, this is a worthwhile resource. (Nonfiction. 12+)