TRACED update coming week of the 26th.
For this week: The first official review of my book from VOYA.
“White, Tracy. How I Made It To Eighteen: A Mostly True Story. Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2010. 137p. $16.99. 978-1-59643-454-7.
Whiteâ€™s â€œmostly true storyâ€ begins when seventeen-year-old Stacy Black enters Golden Meadows Hospital in an attempt to feel like herself againâ€”whoever that is. Ostensibly Stacy works toward her goal of being happy again, earning privileges at the hospital and even becoming close friends with another patient. But she moves both forward and backward in her recovery, clinging to an unhealthy relationship with Eric, offering advice she cannot take, and refusing to be open and honest about her thoughts and actions.
Stacyâ€™s story of anxiety, abuse, self-harm, addiction, and depression, is also a story of an interesting, creative young woman and her friends, a veritable chorus that adds perspective and insight into Stacyâ€™s struggles. Whiteâ€™s images are as intense and telling as the written text. Comparisons to Susanna Kaysenâ€™s Girl, Interrupted (Random House, 1993) are unavoidable: both are stories of self-discovery, memoirs of the female authors’ time in mental health facilities during their late adolescence. Both Kaysenâ€™s and Whiteâ€™s stories are fascinating and frustrating. Most significantly, both memoirs stop short of offering easy solutions to complicated problems. Whiteâ€™s perspective is honest, often unflinchingly and quite unsympathetic to her adolescent self. Still it is made clear why Stacy is likeable and loyal. More honest than Cut (Front Street, 2000/VOYA February 2001), more intriguing even than Girl, Interrupted, Whiteâ€™s novel uses stark black-and-white imagery to construct her frank and honest story of a fraught adolescence.â€”Jennifer Miskec.