Working Days: Short Stories about Teenagers at Work

Working Days: Short Stories about Teenagers at Work

by Anne Mazer
     
 

"Almost without exception, the pieces are thought-provoking and consciousness-raising, and are certain to ring a bell with teenagers working, unemployed, or planning their careers."—Kirkus Reviews
An ALA Best Book: fifteen short stories about teens in the adult workplace.

Overview

"Almost without exception, the pieces are thought-provoking and consciousness-raising, and are certain to ring a bell with teenagers working, unemployed, or planning their careers."—Kirkus Reviews
An ALA Best Book: fifteen short stories about teens in the adult workplace.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reflecting that "a job was the way you really found out about the world," Rob, the narrator of Kim Stafford's "Riding Up to Ruby's" neatly condenses a theme repeated throughout this anthology. Fifteen stories, 12 of them original, by talented YA authors trace young Americans' experiences at the work place to show the intangible rewards of labor. Most of the featured protagonists, as culturally diverse as their creators, gain wisdom from people they meet on the job. Working at a dull job, the heroine of Mazer's "The Pill Factory" learns something about her strengths by watching a co-worker struggle. In Marilyn Sachs's "Lessons," a tutor is deeply touched by the kindness of her student, a grandfatherly Greek pastry chef who possesses the sensitivity her own stepmother lacks. Tenth-grader Shane, the protagonist of Graham Salisbury's "Forty Bucks," finds something remarkable in an elderly Mexican customer who disbands a gang of troublemakers during Shane's shift at a Taco Bell. Readers need not turn to Mazer's rather drawn-out introduction to extract meaning from these poignant selections. The volume's chorus of strong, expressive voices dynamically conveys the joys, traumas and discoveries of impressionable teens taking their first leap toward adulthood. Ages 10-up. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 UpThese 15 short stories feature teens making their way in the adult world of work. There are no idealized settings here; the young people toil in dirty factories, sleazy motels, and on farms that employ illegal immigrants. The characters do not find these rough conditions jarring since they have not had privileged childhoods. Yet as they view the older, wilted, and disillusioned folks around them, they are determined to triumph and to make a difference in the world. Though the collection reflects a nice diversity of cultures and has a laudable theme, the stories are uneven in quality. Some are sophisticated and have the tone of adult reminiscences. Some selections stand out. In Marilyn Sachs's "Lessons," a lonely young woman tutors an adult Greek immigrant and rebels against her own family's seeming lack of generosity. Anne Mazer's "The Pill Factory" skillfully depicts a teen's persistence in the face of a deadening factory environment. Graham Salisbury's "Forty Bucks" is an interesting vignette about two boys who confront a couple of troublemakers while working the late shift in a Taco Bell in Hawaii. "The Avalon Ballroom" by Ann Hood is a poignant tale of a New York City kid who struggles to get the money to attend Princeton. All but three of the stories are original. "The Baseball Glove" is reprinted from Victor Martnez's Parrot in the Oven (HarperCollins, 1996). Short stories don't tend to circulate highly unless they're on a wildly popular topic or there's a school assignment; as a whole, this collection lacks the kind of pizzazz needed to grab all but the most sophisticated readers.Jacqueline Rose, Lake Oswego Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
The connection between going to work and growing up are explored in this excellent collection from Mazer (Going Where I'm Coming From, 1995, etc.).

Fifteen stories explore what it's like to be young and employed, whether slinging hash in some fast-food joint, salmon-fishing, or picking peppers with a gang of illegal Mexican immigrants. Some stories are humorous, some are serious, but all the protagonists gain insights about themselves and others, or about the human experience, that are worth more than the paychecks. In Roy Hoffman's "Ice Cream Man," Rick's job driving an ice cream truck is enriched by his daily visits with the storytelling Captain; in Mazer's own "The Pill Factory," Meredith is hired to glue labels on jars of vitamins, and discovers through mastering the glue machine how to take control of her own life. Graham Salisbury's "Forty Bucks" is a darkly humorous story of two Hawaiian boys who work the graveyard shift at a Taco Bell, while the protagonist in David Rice's "The Crash Room" works in a hospital emergency room, where he is becoming inured of the endless suffering he encounters. Stories by Marilyn Sachs, Victor Martínez, and Lois Metzger are among those included; almost without exception, the pieces are thought-provoking and consciousness-raising, and are certain to ring a bell with teenagers working, unemployed, or planning their careers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892552245
Publisher:
Persea Books
Publication date:
07/28/1997
Pages:
207
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Anne Mazer is the author of several widely acclaimed books, including the novels Moose Street and The Oxboy, and a picture book, The Salamander Room, winner of the Keystone to Reading Book Award and a Reading Rainbow Feature Selection.
Anthologies from edited by Mazer include: America Street, Going Where I'm Coming From, A Walk in My World, and Working Days. Mazur lives in Ithaca, New York.

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