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A collection of essays written by the author from age fifteen to seventeen in which he shares impressions of school, sports, cool people, boring people, friends, family, money, music, and obsessions.
SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)
I started writing this book because of my backpack. I took a bright teal, super-dorky backpack to high school, a backpack my mother had ordered years earlier from L.L. Bean. It worked so great throughout junior high that I figured it had a year or two left in it.
My backpack got some looks. People would stare at it, wondering, "What kind of idiot wears an accessory like that?" Then they would see me. "Oh."
One day, I was going down one of my high school's escalators. I was tired. I took off my backpack and put it next to me on an escalator step. For whatever reason, the backpack flipped over and started rolling down like a Slinky.
Many steps below stood a girl. She had one hand to her face, as if she were on a cell phone, but she had no actual phone. We were the only people on the escalator. The backpack kept tumbling (I watched it sort of helplessly) and whapped her in the back of the calves.
The girl stopped talking on her fake phone and turned to look at me. She had to take that look: I could've been a cute guy who'd flung my backpack at her to break the ice. She sized me up, cocked her head, and kicked my backpack as hard as she could the rest of the way down.
When I reached the bottom, I picked up my backpack and thought about it for the rest of the day. On the subway ride home, I pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper and wrote about the cell-phone girl and my stupid bag. I wrote angrily; I used a lot of curses. Afterward, I felt a lot better, and when I read my words the next day, I thought theywere pretty good.
So I went from writing profanity-ridden rants to slightly less profanity-ridden essays. I was able to get some of them published in a local newspaper, New York Press. Soon I was writing on a regular basis, taking my boring, scary, embarrassing high school moments and turning them into something people could read about. It was a real comfort—if something weird or horrible happened to me, I'd write about it, and then somehow I'd be in control. A little.
In 1998, I got a piece published in The New York Times Magazine. That got me in touch with Free Spirit Publishing, who gave me this book contract, which I signed, and now somehow I'm here, writing this introduction after polishing most of what I wrote in high school and organizing it chronologically.
I threw out that backpack when I was a junior and replaced it with a bag from the army surplus store.
I never did learn the name of the girl.
Brooklyn, New York
My school had seven sets of escalators. It was a high school specializing in math and science, so I guess they figured we deserved escalators.
If you want to write to me about my book, you can reach me at Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 400 First Avenue North, Suite 616 Minneapolis, MN 55401-1724. Or email me at: help4kids@ freespirit.com
|Nintendo Saved Me||6|
|Highway to Hell||21|
|Are We Alternative Now?||29|
|Cable Access Says No||76|
|Roll with It||83|
|Here Comes Trouble||87|
|No Big Deal||92|
|Let's Buy Beer||100|
|Goofy Foot Forward||123|
|Everybody Loves a Wheelchair||131|
|Good-bye, Old Painter||150|
|Getting Sloppy with Poppy||160|
|Fun in the Sun||183|
|Prom, Prom, Promises||202|
|About the Author||232|
Posted December 5, 2010
This was ultimately a beautiful quasi-autobiography novel by the amazing Ned Vizzini. I have been a big fan of his novels for a while but Teen Angst gives the readers more insight on his life and shows how great of a guy and a writer Ned Vizzini really is. I found this book interesting and hilarious but conclusively outstanding. This is highly recommended. And I hope to read many future novels of his at that. =)
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 25, 2006
Getting inside some teen minds, can be cliche or overrated. Ned Vizzini adds humorous and emotional twists to the mind of his old school years. Kids can relate to his real life experiences and get sucked into his life. It's a quick read, but when you're done you feel as though you know him or know somebody like him.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 30, 2012
Posted August 18, 2002
I just got the book yesterday, and I had also finished it yesterday. Ned has a remarkable talent. I don't know adults who could write this well. The book was truly a joy to read. It shared touched someone of my inner thoughts as a teen, it is comforting to know that other kids do share the same thoughts as I do. Ned also approached them in such a manner that it was hilarious. I would recommend this book to anyone.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 26, 2004
Posted June 1, 2003
i can't believe it's an autobiography... it's so... INTERESTING. its funny at some points and u can relate to it so well...
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2013
I love this book. Ned Vizzini will always be my favourite author, it's sad to know that he's no longer with us. This world lost a good soul. But his books will last forever.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 17, 2013
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Posted July 6, 2003
This book is a quick, albeit great read. [I bought it yesterday and I'll probably finish it tonight.] I go to Stuyvesant, the high school the author went to and writes about. Its really interesting to read about how little has changed in six years and its also very easy to relate to. This is one of those laugh out loud [literally!] kind of books that everyone and anyone would enjoy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.