Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Red: The Next Generation of American Writers - Teenage Girls - On What Fires Up Their Lives Today

Amy Goldwasser

Genre: Non Fiction, Essays, Women's Studies
Publication Date: 8th November 2007
Number of Pages: 288
Source: Library - Want to Purchase
My Rating: 

In this eye-opening collection, nearly sixty teenage girls from across the country speak out, writing about everything from post-Katrina New Orleans to Johnny Depp; from learning to rock climb to starting a rock band; from the loneliness of losing a best friend to the loathing or pride they feel about their bodies. Ranging in age from 13 to 19, and hailing from Park Avenue to rural Nevada, Georgia to Hawaii, the girls in RED-whose essays were selected from more than 800 contributions-represent a diverse spectrum of socioeconomic, political, racial, and religious backgrounds, creating a rich portrait of life as a teen girl in America today. (Goodreads)

As a book with a total of 53 essays, it'd be ridiculous to say I would give 5 golden stars to every essay in this book. Red, as a whole, however, is another story. This is a honest, down-to-earth (and sometimes not so much) essay collection from real teenage girls from all sides of life. I couldn't necessarily relate to every single story in this book so well I was sitting there going "Yes! That is me!" But the internal struggles and hopes and desires to succeed that shine from all of these essays really made that connection. It also helped me understand lives from other perspectives just a little bit better.

I found I was surprised at times that I was being insanely inspired at 1 in the morning by an essay written by a 13 year old girl titled "Ms. President". I was crying alongside a victim of Hurricane Katrina and her loss of more than just possessions ("New City"). I wanted to reach through the pages and hug almost all of these young women and tell them they aren't the only one. But that's kind of the purpose of this book. Or at least much of what I took away from it. The desire to do good, to help others, to succeed, to just be happy, admiration of others, they are all things that many, if not all, of us feel.

Would I recommend this book to everyone? No. I can't really see my father picking up this book and being as inspired by this book as a fifteen year old high school girl would be.

But I still come away with that feeling that this book gets a golden five stars. The amount of diversity and raw emotion and stories this book holds is just amazing. One quote in one of the final essays, "New City", really summed up this book for me and I'll leave you with that:

"You cannot hide forever, though you may try. I have heard the stories you tell. You can go out into the world and show others. They will feel less alone because of you, they will feel understood, unburdened. But to share with them you must wear shoes. You must go out and it will be harder. You must face jealousy and sometimes rage and desire and love, which can hurt most of all because of what can be taken away."

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