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HARD TIME by Janet Bode

HARD TIME

A Real Life Look at Juvenile Crime and Violence

By Janet Bode (Author) , Stan Mack (Author)

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-32186-4
Publisher: Delacorte

 Bode and Mack (Heartbreak and Roses, 1994, etc.) have come up with a real eye-opener. Incarcerated teens who have committed serious crimes, their victims, and the counselors or other adults who work with them tell their stories without sugarcoating. Whether by intent or accident, two things stand out in the book: Most of the teens were victims of adults who did drugs and alcohol, who prostituted themselves to maintain their habits, who abused their offspring physically, emotionally, or sexually, or simply neglected them; second, the teenagers' accounts are characterized by a certain anomie that makes them all the more chilling. The boy who killed his mother when he was 13 says, ``I'm not even sure why I did it,'' and then lists all the little things that resulted in the murder. In these pages are juveniles who killed siblings, tortured best friends, joined gangs, attempted suicide, robbed, and raped; their stories are brutal but also sad. Bode says the book is a ``wake-up call''; it is not for the fainthearted, but it should be available to all those in similar situations--whether perpetrators or victims. One teenager states it best: ``I don't want other kids to have to go through this. That's why I'm talking to you.'' Mack's harrowing black-and-white cartoons sound a wake-up call of their own. (Nonfiction. 12+)