Growing Up Fast tells the life stories of Amy, Liz, Collen, Shayla, Sheri, and Jessica—six teen mothers whom Joanna Lipper first met in 1999 when they were all enrolled in the Teen Parent Program in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Making a short documentary film was only the beginning of an extraordinary journey that continued for four years as Lipper videotaped and thoroughly interviewed these girls, their families, and the fathers of their babies. This raw material was the basis for Growing Up Fast, which, in the words of Naomi Wolf, "reads like a nineteenth-century novel describing young women burdened by fates they did not choose."
Less than a decade older than her teen-parent subjects, Lipper was able to blend into the very fabric of their lives. She earned their trust as they shared with her in much detail the daily reality of growing up too fast in an economically depressed postindustrial landscape.