A Tribe Apart: A Journey into the Heart of American Adolescence by Patricia Hersch

A Tribe Apart What if an adult – a normal, mom-type person – asked to follow you and your family for 3 years, watching everything you did and said – even the stuff your parents knew nothing about? That’s exactly what journalist Patricia Hersch did. She wanted to know what made teens tick, so she set out on this huge research journey with six teens that took three years to complete. Hersch’s whole deal is that today’s normal (as in, not super high risk) teens are rebelling more than ever, because between the working parents and neighborhoods that are empty until 6:00 PM, they have no one to turn to except other teens – thus the title. Teens are like a tribe apart from the rest of society, a culture and group unto themselves. It’s a pretty interesting book, because the people she hangs with are just like the people you know, and Hersch herself is totally non-judgmental. When she finds out that one of the kids that she’s working with is having her first sexual experience, and another is dealing drugs, she doesn’t freak, she just records the info and lets the facts tell the story, This is a hefty book (391 pages), but totally worth your while. If and when you read this book, let me know what you think-–it’s sparking a lot of debate among parent, teacher, and librarian tribes…

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