Close Up

Szabinka Dudevszky, Author, Wanda Boeke, Translator, Pieter Piers, Illustrator Front Street $15.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-886910-40-9
First published in the Netherlands, this attractively designed but disappointing book began as a series of interviews Dudevszky conducted for an educational film about teenagers who can no longer live with their parents. Impressed by the hope, pride and sheer determination of the teens she met, she chose 18 young adults, then shaped their words into brief first-person accounts. Manuela's father's strictness turned into physical abuse after he was injured on the job. Leyla fled Iran with her parents' blessing to evade a powerful man determined to marry her. Marco's family was split up, apparently by governmental authorities, when Marco was six, after the discovery that his father had sexually abused his sisters. Sietse, born in Sri Lanka and adopted by a Dutch couple, has been sent to a youth home, presumably for fighting (here as elsewhere, much is left unexplained). Each chapter is broken into sections, about two per page, with headers that emphasize the given teen's feelings (""Older and Quieter,"" ""Terribly Lonely""). This technique, along with the brevity of the entries, affords only the barest glimpse into the subjects' lives and minds, often raising unanswered questions and making for frustrating reading. The style and tone of the profiles are also quite similar, despite vastly differing subjects; this sameness is slightly mitigated by Kers's artful black-and-white photographs, generally two to an entry. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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