Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Who better to write a book about teenagers than a high school English teacher? Bruce J. Gevirtzman has taken on the gargantuan task of helping adults get a better understanding of American teens. I think anyone reading his book will agree that Mr. Gevirtman has an amazing grasp and understanding of today's youth and will be grateful that has shared his knowledge with us.
The title, An Intimate Understanding of America's Teenagers: Shaking Hands with Aliens is appropriate and accurate. Although there are no teens in my home, I do watch television and know that art, in this case television, often imitates life. What I have seen is pretty scary.
The author understands teenagers and willingly shares what he has learned through his years of teaching and working with teens. He has spent decades with young people and has watched as the world has changed. He says, "The problems teenagers faced 40 years ago are identical to the problems they face today. A huge difference, however, that today the intensity of those problems is way off the charts." Amen to that. Mr. Gevirtzman does not say, "the problem with teenagers today is...." then go on to list what is wrong with our teens. Instead he acknowledges that they now face new and more complicated problems, he goes on to offer some of his own lessons learned as a teacher. However serious the issues are in An Intimate Understanding of America's Teenagers: Shaking Hands with Aliens , you will find humor, warmth and humor as well.
The author talks about things you may not want to think that your teenager knows, much less thinks about. Sadly, disavowing that your baby may be thinking or doing something you do not approve of will not make the problem go away. Mr. Gevirtzman is well aware of that, and touches on some of the issues that teens deal with. Chapter 4 is titled, "Lily Munster...or Whatever's Cool", if you are familiar with the television family The Munsters and the Gothic look they are famous for, you can guess the issue this chapter addresses. If you don't understand what your teen is saying much of the time when (and if) he is talking to you, you will find yourself smiling with understanding when you read the first chapter, "Im, Like, All...". Whatever a parent or caretaker is going through, there seems to be a chapter that offers guidance and insight. The advice shared is offered in an easy conversational style, even when the issues are touchy or difficult. Some of the chapter's are, Snitchin Aint Bitchin, and Sex, Oral Sex, and "Hey, Everybody's Doing It!." The final chapter, When All Is Said and Done leaves the reader with hope and a better understanding of America's often troubled teens.
As you read An Intimate Understanding of America's Teenagers, you sense that this author is passionate about teaching and teenagers. He is the kind of teacher who will stand alone when everyone else is pointing their finger at teen Jane or Jim; it is obvious that he cares. A teenager might say,"He's a good guy, he has your back." At the end of each chapter, Mr. Gevirtzman offers "Mr.G's home-grown advice" which he directs to parents, teachers and teenagers. Cool!
Available from Amazon An Intimate Understanding of America's Teenagers: Shaking Hands with Aliens