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Growing Up Fast

Joanna Lipper

Picador

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.

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Chapter One

BILL AND DORIS WERE ADDICTED TO SKYDIVING. FALLING through space and time, their survival instincts kicked in. The adrenaline rush was pure and unparalleled. Parachutes snapping open, they surrendered to a blissful sensation of weightlessness, drinking in a bird's-eye view of the world, far above the burdens, frustrations, and disappointments that awaited them down on the ground back home, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

During the week, Doris drove a long yellow school bus. She had started this job when her two daughters were little, intending to move on to something
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REVIEWS

Praise for Growing Up Fast

"In nearly 400 fast-paced pages of wonderfully evocative prose, much of it in the words of her six subjects, all teen mothers, Lipper has actually conveyed the social and personal history of a growing class of Americans for whom there is little help and less hope. But this class of people has inner lives, and this is what Lipper is so deft at communicating.... Give this book for Christmas. It will burden the conscience of its readers."
--Martin Peretz, The New Republic
"Readers looking for a slice of life in deindustrializing America will find much to admire about this book...The book should be mandatory reading in middle school, for as the young mothers themselves explain, had they know what they were getting into, they never would have walked this path."
--Katherine S. Newman, Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Joanna Lipper

  • JOANNA LIPPER lives in New York City, where she runs Ruby Slipper Productions. She had made two documentary films, Inside Out: Portraits of Children and Growing Up Fast. This is her first book.
  • Joanna Lipper
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Available Formats and Book Details

Growing Up Fast

Joanna Lipper

  • Trade Paperback

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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