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The Worst Years of Your Life: Stories for the Geeked-Out, Angst-Ridden, Lust-Addled, and Deeply Misunderstood Adolescent in All of Us
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The Worst Years of Your Life: Stories for the Geeked-Out, Angst-Ridden, Lust-Addled, and Deeply Misunderstood Adolescent in All of Us

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3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  179 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
A delightful and terrifying collection of twenty short stories, edited by critically acclaimed writer and novelist Mark Jude Poirier.

Adolescence. Fortunately it's over with early and once you've finished paying for therapy, there's still a chance to move on with your life.

The Worst Years of Your Life says it all: angst, depression, growing pains, puberty, nasty boys and
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Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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(showing 1-30)
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David
May 22, 2010 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
This was a mixed bag, like all anthologies. Based on Mark Jude Poirier's excellent coming-of-age novel, "Goats", I was hoping for something out of the ordinary. But the stories in this collection rarely transcend your typical adolescent angst. There are, of course, subtypes:

adolescent cruelty/bullying : 5 stories
startling act of pathological adolescent violence : 2 stories
generalized adolescent confusion : 4 stories
adolescent horniness, consummated : 3 stories
adolescent lust, unconsummated : 3 s
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Richard Van Camp
Nov 08, 2012 Richard Van Camp rated it liked it
If I ever teach a course on Young Adult literature, this will be one of the required texts. In The Worst Years of Your Life, published by Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. Mark Jude Pairier has gathered 20 stories about adolescence. The Worst Years of Your Life is a great read—well, most of it…I think the main problem was: who was the target audience for this collection—adults looking back on their teen years or to write something scandalous for teens to read and feel more adult?
Julie Orringer’s
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Marie
Nov 02, 2016 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: rths, t-anthologies
One thing I liked about this anthology was that the editor gets out of the way. After the introduction, there are no summaries, no explanation on why he chose the stories he did - I can simply experience them myself and draw my own conclusions.

Most of the stories in this collection capture the awkwardness of the teenage years, so it will most likely come down to a matter of taste and personal experiences on which stories are the "best."

My personal favorites:

Note to Sixth-Grade Self by Julie Orr
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Bob
Sep 09, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it
Shelves: family
Most of these stories were unpleasant to me, but in a true and unsettling way, and the best, Chris Adrian's "A Child's Book of Sickness and Death" actually shocking.
The writing seemed uniformly good:
"There was some simple, radical difference about him; he hoped it was genius, feared it was madness, devoted himself to amiability and inconspicuousness." (p. 70)
"I was swinging at the time, watching the men from the moving company slide pieces of a fuzzy red water bed out of their truck, when my
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Hollowspine
Apr 01, 2010 Hollowspine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading these stories, many of which contained the phrase, "in that awkward phase," or "at that awkward age." I'm wondering though, if that age ever really ends. I don't remember ever entering into that phase or exiting from it. I often find myself in situations similar to those in the stories even now. I don't think I ever will find myself outgrowing embarressment or awkward situations.

This book contained a story from my favorite author, George Saunders, as well as some other
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Joey Jo
Jan 05, 2008 Joey Jo rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I was excited to read this book; but was sorely disappointed. Most of the stories focus on bully/bullied relationships in the typical way: for males, an overt hatred; for females, friends who pretend to like you but then stab you in the back.

The third category of stories - sexual encounters, characterized by "A Real Doll" etc. - are too bizarre for my taste. The highlight was probably "Lost in the Funhouse" which has a more complex story-in-story leaving you wondering who the narrator is.
Maggie
Dec 01, 2007 Maggie rated it liked it
This is an interesting collection of short stories all focusing on life as an adolescent. I related to some of the experiences/emotions of a few of the characters, but many of the teens in this collection are pretty screwy--case in point the "A Real Doll" story featuring a talking Barbie. Highlights from the collection include the "A Child's Book of Sickness and Death" and "Thunderbird," and my favorite is "Note to Sixth-Grade Self." Those three selections alone are worth checking out the book.
Lisa
Jan 02, 2017 Lisa rated it liked it
Very hit or miss anthology where adult writers contribute stories about adolescence. I struggled to get through a few of these, but it's entirely worth it for the best story in the bunch, "A Child's Book of Sickness and Death," which chronicles the pain, frustration, and strangeness of coming of age as a chronically ill child.
I did appreciate that there was a decent mix of men and women, from both vantage points, but so many of the stories had little substance other than 'I was bullied.'
Erin
Jun 27, 2008 Erin rated it liked it
Love the concept of this book (stories about the awkward, awful time of adolescences), but some of the stories very loosely were linked to the theme. There are some standouts though including George Saunders's "Bohemians" (which I believe is also in the 2005 nonrequired reading collection), Stacey Richter's "The Beauty Treatment", and Kevin Canty's "Pretty Judy". I also enjoyed the introduction.
Fayette
Jul 27, 2015 Fayette rated it it was ok
This anthology was very hit or miss for me. I loved the beautifully written, bittersweet "Note to Sixth-Grade Self." However many of the other stories were too dark, violent or disturbing for me to want to carry on reading. They were well written, that wasn't my problem with it. Just the content was sometimes too grim for me to want to spend time in that world. I made it about halfway through the book and then decided to bail.
Oriana
Feb 04, 2009 Oriana rated it really liked it
This novel of short stories tells the experiences of 20 author's in middle and high school and how coping with the hardships of adolescence affected them. The book sort of gives puberty and adolescence a negative tone, but the funny, twisty-turny, and witty approach most of the authors write with are what make the stories worth reading. I found that I could relate to most of the things the characters in each of the short stories were dealing with which made the novel even more interesting.
Elizabeth
Apr 17, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: wanna be hipsters
Shelves: 2010
a compilation of short stories written by people you've heard of and hopefully read. the stories are written with a lot of candor and seem to focus on the puberty stories of those not growing up easy breezy. if you struggled as a teenager, were lonely, picked on, had weird experiences that left you out of the 'in' crowd, i defy you to read this book and not relate to at least one of these stories. some of them are sad but most are hilarious.
Ellis
May 28, 2008 Ellis rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ellis by: brook
I seemed unable to read as much as I wanted this summer, but I just finished this one. A collection of short stories about adolescence. Difficult to rate because some stories I enjoyed very much and others I felt rather indifferent about. However, I would recommend it, as I rather enjoyed the majority of the short stories. Most stories are very personal and, at times, uncomfortable to read.
Stephen Dorneman
Jul 28, 2013 Stephen Dorneman rated it liked it
Although this anthology does capture the "geeked-out, angst-ridden, lust-addled" moments of adolescence well, it does so with stories of damaged teens and tweens that often rely on identification with the moment more than coherent plot and, particularly, satisfying endings. Perhaps that, too, is a truth about adolescence, but I expect more in my fiction. A mixed bag.
Stephanie Grover
Aug 26, 2010 Stephanie Grover rated it it was amazing
The short stories included in this book made me feel like someone tapped into my diary for inspiration. The characters and situations made me laugh, cringe and sympathize with. The title definitely wraps up the comical stories that had me (only slightly) resenting that I hadn't thought of it first.
Eric McGreevy
Apr 29, 2009 Eric McGreevy rated it it was amazing
This fantastic book of short stories took me back to both the best and worst of my junior high years. Painfully funny and hilariously sad it revisits the trials and tribulations of the most difficult years of most folks' lives. It's been almost a year since I read it and I can still vividly recall some of the stories.
Beth
Dec 14, 2007 Beth rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to wallow in middleschool drama
The Worst Years of Your Life is a great book.
There are standout authors, and standout stories but all are good in their own right.
Really funny in a painful way. I think all of you ladies would like it.
* I mean ladies in the loosest way possible of course*
Kert Tandog
Sep 22, 2012 Kert Tandog rated it it was ok
Shelves: coming-of-age, shorts
The compilation is funny at its best, but for the most part something is lacking. It's probably because the stories in the book aren't really the ones I can relate with -- as I live in a very different context and setting.
Vee
Aug 18, 2008 Vee rated it really liked it
This book is funny and has something everyone can relate to. However, there are some parts where the magic fades out and gets a little too boring for my taste. Anyone who remembers being a teenager will smile through all of the all-to-familiar embarrassing moments and enjoy themselves.
katie king
Feb 05, 2008 katie king rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2007
this could've been so much better! to be fair, some of the stories were quite entertaining, but overall it fell flat as a collection. maybe i just wanted to read more about similar adolescence as mine...
rachelle
Aug 21, 2007 rachelle marked it as to-read
We get loads of free books at the office, and when the higher-ups don't want them they tend to trickle down. This one, about the adolescent years, was offered directly to me. I'm not sure if I should be offended or proud.
Dayna
Sep 03, 2008 Dayna rated it liked it
I had no intention of reading this whole thing, but got sucked in. For the most part enjoyable (some, in the squirmy self-recognition way)tales of adolescence.
Great to read right before bedtime. Leads to nightmares of high school.
Nicole
Nov 06, 2007 Nicole rated it really liked it
an excellent reminder of exactly why i never want to be thirteen again, yet profound, poignant, and funny.
Carrie
Mar 31, 2008 Carrie rated it really liked it
This was a lovely connection of short stories about the awkwardness of being a teenager. A few brought serious tears to my eyes, and many made me laugh. I definitely recommend it.
Corina
Aug 07, 2009 Corina rated it really liked it
If you love short story compilations, pick this up. Every single story gave me a new author to check out.
Casey Bennett
Jul 04, 2015 Casey Bennett rated it liked it
A decent collection of coming-of-age stories with a few stand-out stories, particularly Chris Adrian's "A Child's Book of Sickness and Death" and Stanley Elkin's "A Poetics for Bullies."
rachelraven
Aug 10, 2009 rachelraven rated it it was ok
I found the stories to be out of touch with what I felt as a teen. I love nostalgia and angst, but some of these were TOO out there for my taste.
Olga
Apr 03, 2008 Olga rated it really liked it
This is a great compilation of short stories. Admittedly, I had read most of them before - but it was fun to have them all together.
Alvin
Nov 15, 2007 Alvin rated it really liked it
A terrific and varied collection about that peroiod of maturation when we're all likely to sustain some serious psychic damage.
Jeff Root
May 10, 2010 Jeff Root rated it it was amazing
Each story blew me away. Mark Jude Poirier did a fine job collecting these gems.
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