I NEVER ASKED YOU TO UNDERSTAND ME by Barthe DeClements

I NEVER ASKED YOU TO UNDERSTAND ME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fictional look at an alternative school, the kinds of troubles that bring young people to it and the education it offers. Cooperation High includes samples of every problem: drug dealer Larry, on probation; sweet, handsome TJ--who has left home to live a responsible life, when he's not smoking pot; Stacy, whose father molests her and beats her mother; and the narrator, Didi. While her mother dies of cancer, Didi suffers terminal misunderstandings with her high school, whose punitive, unsympathetic staff fails to discover the reason for the sudden changes in behavior of a model student. Lacking home support--her cold, unimaginative father is preoccupied with his own problems--Didi lands unprotesting at permissive CHS where she finds caring teachers, no academic challenge, and self-styled rejects who form their own society to replace the failed adult world. DeClements, counselor in such a school, paints a grim view of the tragedy that can fill young lives. Trying to get it all in, plot is contrived around message; when Didi and Stacy are both able to find alternative living arrangements and end the story on a note of hope, the sudden change is jarringly simplistic. Still, a well-written problem novel with authentic, believable characters. Teens will recognize themselves.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Viking