Kendall Hailey’s teenage diary is quite easy to read and often amusing. It reflects the randomness of her youthful interests and mental processes, as well as her maturing grasp of life, relationships, and her own self. Over the course of four years—from her junior year of high school to age nineteen—Hailey grows from teenager to woman, earns public and parental recognition, and shares numerous insights with her readers. These insights focus on interpersonal relationships, the fleeting quality of fame, the importance of health and friends, and the intricacies of educating oneself. She deals with a variety of familial issues, her attraction to a younger man, her fear of not being talented, her relief at not having to fit into the academic structures of her peers, and her understanding of who she has become and where she is heading at this pivotal juncture of her young life. Hailey becomes a friend and confidant to her readers, asking little of them but companionship. Some of her diary passages are short, others more extensive, but they all flow together because of her ability to draw readers into her life and invite them to stay.
Few if any first-person works have been published that address what it would be like for teenagers to follow their own desires. While Hailey’s circumstances are unique—her parents are talented, famous, and rather well-off financially; and her offbeat household encompasses several generations and contains a majority of females—she is not a spoiled child. Her appreciation of her privileged situation makes her voice sympathetic, her commentary insightful rather than egotistical.
Hailey’s interest in films, novels, stageplays, and...
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Baldwin, Christina. One to One: Self-Understanding Through Journal Writing. New York: M. Evans, 1977. A small and friendly guidebook to creating a relationship with one’s own mind through journal writing. Baldwin describes the writing process and includes numerous examples of potential themes to be explored from experience, dreams, or inspiration. An appendix includes ideas on how to facilitate a journal-writing seminar, as well as a bibliography of works that will help diarists deal with memories, dreams, problem-solving, and language.
Booklist. LXXXIV, April 15, 1988, p. 1375.
Chicago Tribune. March 14, 1988, V, p. 3.
Dunaway, Phillip, and Mel Evans. A Treasury of the World’s Great Diaries. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1957. A collection of diary entries from youthful writers such as Anne Frank, explorers such as Davy Crockett, performers such as John Barrymore, and novelists such as Mark Twain and Louisa May Alcott. Provides insight into the diarists and the times in which they lived. The anthology separates the diary segments by themes, which offer unique perspectives into the personal lives of writers whom readers have come to know through fiction and into the writing abilities of others whose deeds have made them famous. Entries from nearly a hundred diarists are included, along with short biographies that place the writers and their works in historical perspective
Gross, Ronald. Peak Learning: A Master Course in Learning How to Learn. Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher, 1991. A unique guidebook in the art of learning, this work calls upon advances in neuroscience, cognitive studies, and developmental psychology. Applicable to technical or literary materials, Peak Learning provides tools that can be put into practice instantly and itself is an example of how to structure an autodidactic approach to learning any or all subjects. Eleven chapters, with overviews, examples, exercises, and illustrations, make up a complete course, peppered by inspirational quotes about learning, creativity, and the brain. A useful bibliography of other books that deal with the art of learning joins a well-detailed index.
Kirkus Reviews. LVI, January 15, 1988, p. 102.
Los Angeles Times. March 6, 1988, VI, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIII, January 22, 1988, p. 93.
Wilson Library Bulletin. LXII, May, 1988, p. 78.