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There is nothing permanent except change – Heraclitus

Facing Struggles In All Eras

by Jillian Bietz

Although these following novels of coming of age tales are set in very different places with very different circumstances and even different decades, they all have one thing in common; how adolescent experiences have impact future adulthood. Surprisingly, you may even relate-despite the decades difference.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Inn this poignant memoir, New York City based journalist Jeanette Walls writes about her childhood in the 1960s and 1970s. Jeanette, her three siblings, artistic mother and beloved, scientific father faced many adventures as they traveled all across America, never staying in the same place for very long. And while the nomadic clan basked in adventure, overfilling their heads with knowledge, creativity and skill, Jeanette depicts the hardships she her brother and sisters faced, as they often lacked food and suitable shelter due to her lost, often selfish mother and especially the toll her fathers deception and alcoholism had on the family. With the unraveling discovery of family secrets and the details of her unconventional childhood, Jeanette portrays the impact her early life had on the way she lives today.

Gossip of the Starlings by Nina De Gramont

A harrowing, gritty story of what can result in growing up privileged; Gossip of the Starlings is a fictional account of two teenage girls, Catherine and Skye, and their tumultuous experiences at a very posh New England boarding school in the 1980s. Catherine is determined to get back on track as a dedicated equestrian, but when she befriends the enigmatic Skye, the seemingly perfect but deeply troubled daughter of a prominent politician, she is introduced to a toxic world. Partaking in many dangerous things such as heavy drug use, an affair with a teacher and more, the girls disregard any potential consequences. Can their friendship survive a whirlwind of scandal, tragedy and deception?

Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser

Written in the 1990s, Kissing Doorknobs is a coming of age story of Tara, a girl she struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The novel starts out when Tara is a pre-teen. Though she’d always been a worrier, she becomes strangely obsessed with rhymes and avoiding stepping on sidewalk cracks. Soon, Tara becomes obsessed with many others things, performing various rituals daily-mostly her compulsion to kiss doorknobs- to calm herself down. But her illness begins to impact others. Her shoplifting, often-destructive friends don’t understand why she acts weird. Her parents are frustrated and unsupportive. When kids tease Tara about her OCD her older sister Greta beats them up.

Tara’s illness has left her feeling isolated and self-conscious and not until she has been struggling for years does she meet someone who assures her that she can live a better life.

 

 

 

Jillian Brietz

Jillian is a fashion design and journalism student.

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