Annie's Reviews > True Notebooks

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman
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's review
May 11, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in May, 2010, read count: Once

Mark Salzman teaches a writing class in an L.A. juvenile hall. His students are some of the most violent offenders in lockup. The book describes how he started teaching there, his students, his struggles with the class, his (very) laid-back approach to teaching and other experiences during his time there. Mostly, the book contains excerpts of student writing. Only near the end, when Salzman attends one of his student's trial's does the book present the complicated debate of appropriate justice and punishment for criminal teenagers. I had a hard time keeping some students straight and a lot of the subject manner of the students writing and the language they used was obviously pretty foul/crass. I didn't feel particularly inspired or moved by this book, but major props to Salzman for doing this tyoe of work, being so dedicated and humble and self-depricateing at the same time.

Favorite Quote:
I debated like this for a week, filling up my notebook and losing sleep but coming no closer to a decision. In the end, my wife-who does not understand the concept of indecision-settled the matter for me. After I'd told her about the opportunity, listed the pros and cons and described my conflicted emotions, she said, "You don't get out of the house enough."

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