THE DENIM DIARIES

A MEMOIR

Relatable, visceral, and memorable.

An honest, brutal memoir told through poems and line-art illustrations about surviving trauma and disordered eating and deciding to truly live.

In 1968, the author’s grandfather wanted her teenaged mother to have an abortion. Instead, her mom called off “the contract hit” and married her 20-year-old boyfriend. Dad drank too much, Mom made the best of things, and two younger siblings came along. Laurie, who reads white, loved being a big sister but was the “weird girl” who didn’t fit in. Slowly, she learned from family, friends, and the media that she was “too much / too big / too earnest / too intense-in-your-face,” and she began to dislike herself. Caring for siblings while Mom worked and Dad drank, Laurie tried to be an ordinary 1980s teenager, but she felt like an imposter. Struggling to maintain control amid divorce and loneliness, she convinced herself that losing weight would fix everything. Thus began her journey to anorexia and bulimia. When Laurie left community college to move to New York City, her relationship with food and her body worsened as she also grappled with surviving sexual assault. Eventually, she realized she’d die if she didn’t learn to love herself enough to live. This memoir, enhanced by the author’s sketches, is both original and moving—but not for the faint of heart. In often graphic detail, beautiful turns of phrase quickly become hard-cornered truths, providing a poetic roadmap from self-doubt to self-hate and, finally, self-acceptance.

Relatable, visceral, and memorable. (author’s note, resources) (Verse memoir. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9781728477503

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

DISCOVERING WES MOORE

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story.

This story, an adaptation for young people of the adult memoir The Other Wes Moore (2008), explores the lives of two young African-American men who share the same name and grew up impoverished on the same inner-city streets but wound up taking completely different paths.

Author Moore grew up with a devoted mother and extended family. After receiving poor grades and falling in with a bad crowd, his family pooled their limited finances to send him to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he found positive role models and became a Corps commander and star athlete. After earning an undergraduate degree, Wes attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. When the author read about the conviction of another Wes Moore for armed robbery and killing a police officer, he wanted to find out how two youths growing up at the same time in the same place could take such divergent paths. The author learns that the other Wes never had the extensive family support, the influential mentors or the lucky breaks he enjoyed. Unfortunately, the other Wes Moore is not introduced until over two-thirds of the way through the narrative. The story of the other Wes is heavily truncated and rushed, as is the author's conclusion, in which he argues earnestly and convincingly that young people can overcome the obstacles in their lives when they make the right choices and accept the support of caring adults.

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74167-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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