FOR REAL by Jane Pratt


The Uncensored Truth About America's Teenagers
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 Stirringly candid portraits of more than 20 teens, interspersed with commentary, reminiscences, and diary entries from Pratt's teen years. Pratt, Sassy's founding editor, and coauthor Pryor clearly empathize and identify with teens. Those portrayed here are all resilient, tenacious, and fiercely independent, though still struggling with their youthful vulnerability. It is difficult not to like them. The diverse group includes: Nicole Woolf, a young Mormon who thinks about going to Jerusalem to study religion; Kyle TwoHorses, a Native American with a drinking problem and a record; and Valerie King, a Jewish skinhead from LA. Though each of the teens is different, certain themes and concerns emerge. Any sex education they've received has been accompanied with warnings of AIDS, making sex and death eerily synonymous. Bisexuality and homosexuality, no longer taboo subjects, preoccupy the minds of quite a few of these teens. And though acceptable in certain circles among youth, homosexuality still poses a problem to most of the adults in their lives. When 16-year-old Jon, for example, tells his wealthy Dallas parents that he is gay, their response lands him first in a psycho ward and then in a detention home. Now HIV- positive, Jon has started a support group for others like himself. Unlike Jon, most of the teens here did not grow up in a home with two biological parents. Fathers seem to play a minuscule role in many of these young people's lives: Some have known their fathers only briefly, others not at all. An exception is Orthodox Jew Chana Abehsera, who respects and loves her father as her teacher and friend. ``I can tell him anything, anything,'' she says, beaming. Honest and occasionally vexing, this will have special appeal to teens and their parents.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-7868-8064-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995