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My Teenage Werewolf

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A veteran journalist navigates the mother-daughter relationship at its most crucial moment

With the eye of a reporter, the curiosity of an anthropologist, and the open (and sometimes wounded) heart of a mother, award-winning author Lauren Kessler embeds herself in her about-to-be-teenage daughter's life. In seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms, at home, online, at the mall, and at summer camp, Kessler observes, investigates, chronicles- and participates in-the life of a ...

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Overview

A veteran journalist navigates the mother-daughter relationship at its most crucial moment

With the eye of a reporter, the curiosity of an anthropologist, and the open (and sometimes wounded) heart of a mother, award-winning author Lauren Kessler embeds herself in her about-to-be-teenage daughter's life. In seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms, at home, online, at the mall, and at summer camp, Kessler observes, investigates, chronicles- and participates in-the life of a twenty-first-century teen. As she begins to better understand and appreciate her mercurial daughter, their relationship-at first a mirror of the author's difficult relationship with her own mother-lurches in new directions. With the help of a resident teen expert (her daughter), as well as teachers, doctors, therapists, and other mothers, Kessler illuminates the age-old struggle from both sides, gracefully interweaving personal experience with journalistic inquiry. Funny, poignant, and insightful, My Teenage Werewolf explores the fascinating and scary world of today's teen as it comes to grips with the single most important relationship in a woman's life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kessler, the author of five narrative nonfiction books, explores the mother/daughter relationship at a particularly vulnerable point—the cusp of her daughter’s entry into adolescence. At 12, Lizzie is often at odds with her author mom, who describes her “chilly” relationship with her own mother. Not wanting to repeat a distant and dissatisfying relationship with her offspring, Kessler decides to dive into her daughter’s world. She embeds herself in middle school, following Lizzie from class to class, probing her peer relationships, online pastimes and cyberfriends, athletic and summer camp life. She also immerses herself in current literature on the mother/daughter relationship and interviews a number of experts, including a female shaman/teen educator and a mental health counselor who plays on a roller derby team. While Lizzie goes along with her mother’s role as a “cultural anthropologist,” she is often prone to hostility and “random acts of meanness.” But as Kessler digs deeper and begins to recognize her daughter’s need for power over her own life and choices, this mother/daughter relationship ripens with compassion and mutual understanding. The author (also the mother of two boys) downplays the conflicts between mothers and teen males, convinced that the steps to the mother/daughter tango are far more complicated. Mothers of girls in particular will be alternately amused, horrified, and entertained as they view the turmoil and triumphs of adolescence from Kessler’s insightful perspective. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670021697
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/5/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Kessler is the author of five works of narrative nonfiction, including the Washington Post bestseller Clever Girl and the Los Angeles Times bestseller The Happy Bottom Riding Club. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O magazine, and The Nation. She directs the graduate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon and lives in Eugene, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 31, 2010

    "My Teenage Werewolf": a must read!

    I don't have a daughter, but I learned so much from this book: why the students I teach act the way they do, why my friends who are moms of teenage girls are so happy to come to work on some days, why it was ok that I didn't talk to my mother for most of my thirteenth year (slight exaggeration). Kessler's book about motherhood, daughterhood, and what binds the two together (and tears the two apart) is a terrific read and an engaging take on a subject that half the population has experienced at one time or another.

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