Our Boys Speak Adolescent Boys Write About Their Inner Lives

John Nikkah

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

192 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
From the best-selling Ophelia Speaks to the recent "girl power" movement, teenage girls are speaking their minds and having their due. But what do the boys think? In this important book, John Nikkah set out to document the true voices of teenage boys.

Nikkah contacted over five thousand schools across the country looking for the voices of America's young males. What are their goals, their fears, their hopes, their dreams? What are their lives really like as they stand on the verge of manhood? Our Boys Speak draws on hundreds of entries from boys aged twelve to eighteen of varied racial, economic, religious, and regional backgrounds.

The essays, poems, diary entries, and stories collected here cover all manner of topics: sex, dating, sports, religion, depression, violence, video games, family, and just about everything in between. Providing perspective and commentary on these writings is Nikkah himself—a clinician, therapist, and young man who comes to new understandings about his own teenage years through the raw statements he encounters in these pages.


Praise for Our Boys Speak

"Our Boys Speak should be required reading for those concerned with the coming of age of young men in America."—Dr. Arien Mack, Alfred and Monette Arrow Professor of Psychology, Graduate Faculty, New School University

"Convinced that boys, like girls, need to air their emotional lives, psychologist Nikkah offers a collection of essays, journal entries, stories, and poems written by young men ages 12 to 18. Heartfelt entries grouped into sections on relationships with family and friends ('Our Inner Circle'), outside influences ('Our World'), and inner struggles ('Our Selves') reveal the turmoil that male teens often mask with nonchalance and bravado. Friendships forged and forgotten, families pulled together and torn apart, threats of violence faced or avoided—all are thoughtfully examined in these revealing accounts. The young writers are painfully honest and generous in sharing those uncomfortable moments so much a part of growing up. Nikkah's brief chapter introductions add perspective and make the collection flow more smoothly. Teachers, parents, and teens themselves will find these writings eye-opening."—Candace Smith, Booklist

"A graduate student in clinical psychology who has worked with adolescents, Nikkah seems very much in touch with boyhood . . . His lengthy, analytical chapter introductions (thirteen in all) are . . . articulate."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Our Boys Speak
Part IOur Inner Circle1In You We TrustMANY OF YOU are going to be shocked by what I'm about to say, just because it is an extremely uncommon sentiment, but here it goes: I cannot think of one bad thing to say about my parents.Now don't get me wrong, it's not as if there's never been any discord between us. Sure, we've had our share of disagreements, times when I would have gladly stomped out of the house or thrown a vase at the TV. But I never did do that. Why? Simply because I always knew that no matter what the subject of contention, my parents were always arguing from the viewpoint
Read the full excerpt


  • John Nikkah

  • John Nikkah is a graduate student in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City. His clinical and research experience includes working with adolescents as an assistant recreational therapist at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.