Going Where I'm Coming from: Memoirs of American Youth (Hardcover)

Memoirs of American Youth

By Anne Mazer

Persea Books, 9780892552054, 180pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 1994



This anthology of fourteen autobiographical narratives about growing up in America's diverse society takes us all across the United States: to the Watts barrio and idyllic Hawaii; to rural Alabama and the urban centers of New York and Boston; to neighborhoods in San Antonio, Cleveland, and Paterson, New Jersey; to North Dakota's Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and into the grape and cotton fields of the San Joaquin valley .... Some are true stories by and about recent immigrants, others focus on young native-born Americans from a particular cultural background. Gary Soto tells about being a teenager who worked as a farm laborer; Helen Epstein explores the unusual tensions surrounding an ordinary dinnertime with her parents, both concentration camp survivors; Thylias Moss and Judith Ortiz Cofer discover the power of the individual voice to transcend racial and cultural barriers; Lensey Namioka recounts her "weird" childhood as a girl who excels in math (expected in China, but unusual in the U.S.); Luis J. Rodriguez and Graham Salisbury examine images of manhood, one in the Watts barrio and the other in Hawaii. Also included are powerful narratives by Lee A. Daniels, Tracy Marx, Ved Mehta, Naomi Shihab Nye, Susan Power, Willie Ruff, and Hisaye Yamamoto. Whether lit by humor or darkly intense, these true accounts tell us that who we are has much to do with where we've been.