Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent

Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent

by Abigail Vona
Three years ago, fifteen year old Abigail Vona lived a life so far out of control (booze, boys, drugs, stealing, and runaway charges) that her father committed her to Peninsula Village, a controversial treatment facility for "behavior modification" in Louisville, Tennessee. She was kept inside this "level-three lockdown" and "wilderness boot camp" for nearly a year.


Three years ago, fifteen year old Abigail Vona lived a life so far out of control (booze, boys, drugs, stealing, and runaway charges) that her father committed her to Peninsula Village, a controversial treatment facility for "behavior modification" in Louisville, Tennessee. She was kept inside this "level-three lockdown" and "wilderness boot camp" for nearly a year. And though it all started out as a nightmare, it eventually became her salvation.

An errant soul at war with the world and especially with herself, Vona unabashedly takes readers inside her own private Idaho. And while she negotiates the dangerous terrain of this "tough love" program, she reveals many dark secrets of the Bad Girl sisterhood. Contending with various behavioral problems (sexual excess, violence, drug addiction, anorexia, self-mutilation, etc.) some of these girls succeed, while others must continue serving their term, or worse, be kicked back to their desperate lives on the outside. A book that will resonate with young women and their mothers alike, Bad Girl is an Every Girl story of teenage rebellion and discovery, accelerated to the extreme.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
The title of Vona's memoir of her stay in a behavior rehabilitation facility for troubled adolescents is far more provocative than her book's content. Fifteen-year-old Vona's father commits her to Tennessee's Peninsula Village for the usual transgressions of angst-ridden teens: shoplifting, drug use, lying and running away from home. Initially, Vona rebels against the institute's stringent rules, only to find that compliance is key to survival. Stripped of the most basic liberties, Vona takes several weeks to make sense of Peninsula Village's seemingly illogical rules. But she earns privileges as the year progresses and predictably learns the value of trust, respect and responsibility. To distinguish her book from the Girl, Interrupted genre of teenage mental patient-cum-diarist stories, Vona juxtaposes progress notes from her therapy sessions and comments from the institution's staff with her own unenlightened, grouchy account of recovery and rehabilitation. The result is jarring. The notes' unsentimental insights will prompt readers to reconsider their opinions of Vona: in trying to reconcile the differing versions of her behavior and attitude, readers may doubt Vona's veracity in her dual roles as patient and storyteller. More, Vona's unpolished narrative voice relies too heavily on the use of the notes to propel the narrative forward. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
This book is both a gripping diary by an out-of-control teenager who spent a year in a tough-love wilderness boot camp and a cumbersome, disconnected autobiography. Sent to "the Village" by her father, Vona goes through different degrees of rehabilitation, some in group, some solitary, most grueling. Her peers are hardcore delinquents with backgrounds in drugs, prostitution, truancy, and abuse. Further complicating the story is the friction among Vona's father, stepmother, and mother, with whom she is allowed limited phone conversations. The diary is pretty graphic and pretty awful, with Vona witnessing the near murder of a counselor. The Village is neither praised nor condemned; some girls, like Vona, make it, and some don't. Only in the author's note at the end do readers learn that Vona is so dyslexic that she dictated most of the diary to her teacher after she left the Village a fact that should have been made clearer from the start. Perhaps a more thoughtful approach would have kept readers in the story. For larger memoir collections, though there may be demand given endorsements by novelists Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis. Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A formerly out-of-control teenager recounts her life-altering experiences at Peninsula Village, a residential treatment center in Tennessee that uses behavior-modification techniques to reform seriously troubled kids. Vona dictated most of her story; she has dyslexia and is barely able to read or write, though her memoir doesn't make it clear how much her learning disability contributed to her problems growing up in Connecticut. Her parents divorced when she was six; her father was awarded custody and remarried a short time later; relations with her stepmother were disastrous. At 15, Vona was a wild and rebellious girl who stole, drank, smoked pot, sneaked out of her bedroom at night to meet boys, and ran away from home. Unable to deal with the situation, her father deposited her at Peninsula Village. Arriving at what she thought was a summer camp, Vona was dumbfounded to be placed on suicide watch in a locked unit with self-mutilators, child abusers, and other dysfunctional teenagers. The routine was monotonous, rules were rigid, and disciple was immediate. Vona underwent group therapy and, later, family therapy by telephone with her father, stepmother, and eventually her mother. After more than a hundred days she was moved out of the locked unit and introduced to the 12-step recovery program developed for Alcoholic Anonymous. She was given responsibilities and required to perform physical labor. Vona's numbered chapters count down from minus 12 to minus 1, then start counting up from 1 to 12 when she begins the AA-style program. Progress is not smooth, but the program does work for Vona, who gradually comes to see herself and her life through different eyes. Interspersed with her textare the notes of staff members who observed Vona in both group and individual therapy sessions; they provide another perspective, which sometimes meshes and sometimes conflicts with her account. Raw and unsettling, yet ultimately reassuring.

Product Details

Rugged Land, LLC
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 11.08(h) x 0.88(d)

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