What It Takes to Pull Me Through
Why Teenagers Get in Trouble--And How Four of Them Got Out
By David L. Marcus
(Houghton Mifflin Company, Hardcover, 9780618145454, 338pp.)
Publication Date: January 2005
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To find answers, Marcus gained unfettered access to students, staff, and parents at the Academy at Swift River in western Massachusetts. The kids who come to Swift River have already headed down some of the dangerous paths that all parents fear their children may take -- drug use, violence, theft, Internet addiction, eating disorders, even prostitution. Known for combining rigorous courses, wilderness survival, and group therapy in an intensive fourteen-month program, the school helps troubled teenagers regain emotional health.
With the cooperation of the kids at Swift River, their parents, counselors, and teachers, Marcus gained full access to students' group therapy sessions and journals; he discovered astonishing crises and surprising truths. He focuses on four remarkable kids who run the demographic gamut: a southern girl whose privileges cannot save her from sinking into drug abuse and unsafe sex; the self-destructive son of teachers grappling with his anger about being adopted; a black kid from a tough New York neighborhood who is silenced by consuming depression; and a once high-achieving Florida girl broken by the death of her mother.
While uncovering what drove these kids and their parents to Swift River, Marcus opens the blackbox of the teenage mind. As he reveals the intense, dramatic process that sets most of these kids right, he weaves a taut, absorbing tale and charts a path to hope that any kid, any parent, can take.