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The Resource True notebooks, Mark Salzman

True notebooks, Mark Salzman

Label
True notebooks
Title
True notebooks
Statement of responsibility
Mark Salzman
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • Alex Award, 2004.
  • Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, 2003.
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2007
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Salzman (Lying Awake ; Iron & Silk ) volunteered to teach creative writing at Central Juvenile Hall, a Los Angeles County detention facility for "high-risk" juvenile offenders. Most of these under-18 youths had been charged with murder or other serious crimes, and after trial and sentencing many would end up in a penitentiary, some for life. Sister Janet Harris, of the Inside Out Writers program, convinced Salzman that in spite of his reservations—about teaching writing, about being a white liberal offering "art" to darker-skinned ghetto boys—these children needed to be encouraged to express themselves in writing instead of acting out, needed to feel they mattered to someone. So Salzman started coming twice a week to meet with three boys, although their number quickly grew. He tried to structure each session with a half hour for writing followed by each boy reading his work aloud, although after a lockdown or a class member's trial, he had to loosen the routine. While their writing themes are somewhat predictable—their anger and violent impulses, their relationships with parents and gangs, plus a tedious dose of "pussy, bullets, and beer"—the discussions these essays provoked were personal and often explosive. As productive as these classes were, everyone was always aware of the painful truth that students would soon be shipped out to more brutal facilities. Salzman doesn't dwell on that, concluding that "a little good has got to be better than no good at all." Indeed, his account's power comes from keeping its focus squarely on these boys, their writing and their coming-to-terms with the mess their lives had become. (Sept. 23) Forecast: The success of Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's recent Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx and, to a lesser extent, Wally Lamb's Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters, along with media publicity, could mean strong sales for Salzman. Knopf plans a 75,000 first printing. --Staff (Reviewed June 16, 2003) (Publishers Weekly, vol 250, issue 24, p57)
  • Novelist Salzman (Lying Awake, 2000, etc.) chronicles his experiences as a teacher of writing to young defendants held in Central Juvenile Hall, Los Angeles.It makes quite a contrast with the gentle tone of Salzman's memoir about teaching in China (Iron and Silk, 1986), having more in common with the how-I-survived-in-a-tough-classroom accounts of George Dennison and Jonathan Kozol. In 1997, needing background for a juvenile delinquent character in his novel-in-progress, the writer visited a class of juvenile criminals taught by a friend and began teaching his own group after succumbing to some arm-twisting from the friend and from a dedicated nun, Sister Janet, who appears throughout the text. An author's note informs us that he "re-created from memory" the conversations he held with these tough young men (most accused of murder), and he must have quite a memory, for the narrative is principally dialogue. Salzman held two one-hour sessions per week as part of a project sponsored by a nonprofit foundation. Here, he describes individual class sessions and reproduces (verbatim, he says, with only the spelling and mechanics standardized) some of the pieces the students wrote during the class. Their work ranges from angry to poignant to ugly to horrifying to horrible to pathetic. Salzman occasionally takes us outside—a particularly effective instance involves watching a meteor shower with his father in Arizona—but for the most part he confines his story, like his students, so readers feel the institutional claustrophobia. The author carefully documents his insecurities, his frustrations, and his occasional inability to coax much work or interest—or even civility—from the class, but he also describes in great detail his many successes, most notably a "retreat" that he helps arrange with writing students from other units in the facility. Neither does he neglect to record numerous laudatory comments about his work from colleagues, students, and corrections officers.A captivating story of hopeless young men whose committed teacher listens—and thereby learns as much as he teaches. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2003)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
165022
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1959-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Salzman, Mark
Index
no index present
Intended audience
780L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
UG
Literary form
non fiction
Reading level
5.3
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Juvenile delinquents' writings, American
  • Creative writing
  • Teacher-student relationships
Label
True notebooks, Mark Salzman
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
463380
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
viii, 330 pages
Isbn
9780375413087
Lccn
2002043435
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375413087
  • (Sirsi) ADL-2270
Label
True notebooks, Mark Salzman
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
463380
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
viii, 330 pages
Isbn
9780375413087
Lccn
2002043435
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375413087
  • (Sirsi) ADL-2270

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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