The Youngest Parents: Teenage Pregnancy as It Shapes Lives

Robert Coles, Author, Jocelyn Lee, Photographer, John Moses, Photographer W. W. Norton & Company $27.5 (223p) ISBN 978-0-393-04082-1
Neither a celebration nor a condemnation, Pulitzer Prize-winning child psychiatrist Coles's poignant documentary is based on interviews conducted between 1987 and 1990 with pregnant teenagers and teen mothers and their boyfriends or husbands. Whatever their background--black, white or Hispanic; inner-city or rural; student or dropout--most of the expectant and new mothers believed that having a child would enhance their lives. In interviews and periodic follow-ups, Coles lets them tell their own stories, framing the empathetic interviews with determinedly nonjudgmental personal portraits that highlight his subjects' strengths and hopes while revealing their assumptions, evasions and anxieties. Coles's three sons--two physicians and one medical student--assisted with the fieldwork, covering a wide terrain from the ghettos of Boston and Washington, D.C., to Appalachia and California. The accompanying 80 b&w photographs by Moses, a North Carolina pediatrician, and Boston photographer Lee convey admiration for these young mothers and for pressured couples struggling with enormous challenges, yet one could also read these images as pictures of tragedies. Though it lacks a unified point of view, this report throws a major societal problem into startling focus. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-393-31996-5
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