cover image Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose

Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose

Edited by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil. Sourcebooks Fire, $15.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8758-9

Between the ages of 15 and 18, until her death in 1999 of cystic fibrosis, a Pennsylvania teenager named Mary Rose wrote unguardedly in her journals. McCain and McNeil (co-editors of Please Kill Me: An Oral History of Punk) offer a condensed but otherwise unaltered version of her diary entries and the occasional letter. Despite any ethical issues raised by publishing the book, which Mary Rose’s mother touches on in an afterword, Mary Rose’s writing has an immediate and viscerally raw impact as she describes her fights with her mother, a magnet for abusive, criminal boyfriends; her own tempestuous experiences with romance, sex, alcohol, and drugs; and the agony of cystic fibrosis. “I definitely won’t binge anymore,” writes Mary Rose after one rehab stint. “HA! That resolution lasted three days!” opens the next entry. Mary Rose’s enormous pain and the ways she attempts to swallow it are evident in every profane, rage-filled entry; while her anguish is near-constant, it’s spiked with moments of biting humor, elation, and hope. It’s a rare, no-holds-barred documentation of an American teenager’s life, written for no audience but herself. Ages 14–up. (Apr.)