YOUR ADOLESCENT: An Owner's Manual by Carol Eisen Rinzler

YOUR ADOLESCENT: An Owner's Manual

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If Rinzler's wise-off subtitle doesn't set your teeth on edge (it will no doubt enrage your adolescent), and if you're not put off by her airy privileged-class vantage, you'll have to admit that she not only comes up with more than her share of bright lines, but also has a better handle on adolescent tastes, terminology, and status symbols than do most parents who presume to write about them. Drugs, sex, and alcohol--the problems that fill straighter parents' manuals--never surface here: Rinzler's ""80's Model"" adolescents are all commodity-oriented. They communicate by T-shirt, go steady by walking down the street plugged into the same Sony Walkman, and invariably ""recognize the importance of sneakers in forging one's sense of self."" In a guide to the Dress Code that enforces the adolescent's rigid caste system, Rinzler distinguishes among the preppie (""easy to identify""); the punk (sees hair coloring as an outlet for expressing its personality""); the normal; the schlepp (var. nerd); the jap (a term no longer restricted to one religion or ethnic group), who is ""in training via Fiorucci for Vuitton and Gucci""; and the parkie, recognizable by the combination of old Army jacket and frisbee. Typically, Rinzler ignores the perpetual stoned condition that is just as basic to the parkie's identity--but perhaps that information is best withheld from parents. More useful is her criterion of last resort, the adolescent's taste in music. With Rinzler as guide, parents who heretofore relegated all adolescents to the Kiss or disco categories can now distinguish between a Sex Pistols punk and a Grateful Deadhead. And, as she points out, your life might someday depend on it.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1981
Publisher: Atheneum