Totally Alien Life for -Op/111

Sydney Lewis, Author
Sydney Lewis, Author New Press $25 (363p) ISBN 978-1-56584-282-3
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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This set of high-energy, intimate interviews with 47 teenagers from around the nation, who differ widely in social, economic and racial backgrounds, explodes the media-sustained image of a complacent ""Generation X."" Lewis, author of a previous oral history, Hospital, wins her subjects' confidence, drawing them out on much more than sex, drugs and personal relationships, as they unguardedly discuss politics, religion and their anxieties, hopes for a meaningful future and concern for the planet's survival. Many of these teens are traumatized by their parents' divorces; one copes with a manic-depressive, schizophrenic mother, another with the loss of her father to cancer, yet all display resilience and an intelligent questioning of the adult world. Joe Zefran, 18, who tried to run for alderman in Chicago but couldn't get on the ballot, comments: ""I like Clinton idealistically but he can't do what he wants to do--he has to compromise too much.... I'd like us to be like England. There's not a single reason that people should have guns."" Rebekah Evenson of Manhattan says, ""Somehow the conservative element in the Republican Party, and in the Democratic Party, have been able to convince poor, working-class Americans that it's in their best interest to subsidize this top 1 percent [of the wealthiest households] and to help them keep getting richer."" A riveting slice-of-life generational portrait. $35,000 ad/promo. (Sept.)
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