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WORKING DAYS by Anne Mazer


Short Stories About Teenagers at Work

edited by Anne Mazer

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: July 15th, 1997
ISBN: 0-89255-223-9

 The connection between going to work and growing up are explored in this excellent collection from Mazer (Going Where I'm Coming From, 1995, etc.). Fifteen stories explore what it's like to be young and employed, whether slinging hash in some fast-food joint, salmon-fishing, or picking peppers with a gang of illegal Mexican immigrants. Some stories are humorous, some are serious, but all the protagonists gain insights about themselves and others, or about the human experience, that are worth more than the paychecks. In Roy Hoffman's ``Ice Cream Man,'' Rick's job driving an ice cream truck is enriched by his daily visits with the storytelling Captain; in Mazer's own ``The Pill Factory,'' Meredith is hired to glue labels on jars of vitamins, and discovers through mastering the glue machine how to take control of her own life. Graham Salisbury's ``Forty Bucks'' is a darkly humorous story of two Hawaiian boys who work the graveyard shift at a Taco Bell, while the protagonist in David Rice's ``The Crash Room'' works in a hospital emergency room, where he is becoming inured of the endless suffering he encounters. Stories by Marilyn Sachs, Victor MartĀ°nez, and Lois Metzger are among those included; almost without exception, the pieces are thought-provoking and consciousness-raising, and are certain to ring a bell with teenagers working, unemployed, or planning their careers. (Fiction. 12+)