A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall
By Mark Salzman
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375727610, 352pp.)
Publication Date: August 31, 2004
Categories: Composition & Creative Writing - General
In 1997 Mark Salzman, bestselling author Iron and Silk and Lying Awake, paid a reluctant visit to a writing class at L.A.’s Central Juvenile Hall, a lockup for violent teenage offenders, many of them charged with murder. What he found so moved and astonished him that he began to teach there regularly. In voices of indelible emotional presence, the boys write about what led them to crime and about the lives that stretch ahead of them behind bars. We see them coming to terms with their crime-ridden pasts and searching for a reason to believe in their future selves. Insightful, comic, honest and tragic, True Notebooks is an object lesson in the redemptive power of writing.
Mark Salzman is the author of Iron & Silk, an account of his two years in China; Lost in Place, a memoir; and the novels The Laughing Sutra, The Soloist, and Lying Awake. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the filmmaker Jessica Yu, and their daughter, Ava.
“Extraordinary. . . . Everything about this book seems perfect.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Fresh, galvanizing and articulate . . . a narrative that asks as many questions as it answers. Cogent, thoughtful and honest.” —The New York Times
“One cannot read. . . and not be stirred . . . As moving as it is sparse, as revealing as it is concealing, as straightforward as it is complex.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Engaging. . . . Salzman creates a cast of lively, convincing, and hugely sympathetic characters and True Notebooks is filled with powerfully moving scenes.” —O, The Oprah Magazine