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Publisher's Summary

True Notebooks is the story of Mark Salzman's eye-opening tenure as a writing teacher to a group of teenage boys in a juvenile detention facility in Los Angeles. Many of Salzman's students have been charged with murder, and he is initially apprehensive about teaching them. But his first encounter with them changes his mind: rather than the thugs he had expected, his students are vulnerable and carry terrible burdens. As they write about their pasts, their conflicted relationships with their families, and their fears about the future, they come to care for their teacher, who has given them a rare opportunity for self-expression. But in their threatening environments, vulnerability may be a liability. Salzman acknowledges the complexities of their plight while celebrating their redemption.
©2003 Mark Salzman; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews



Alex Award Winner, 2004
"Wonderful...Even the manipulative kids Salzman introduces are stunningly human...Examines a broken system with grace, wit, and gripping storytelling." (Booklist)
"Eloquent...Cogent, thoughtful and honest." (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Erika on 11-24-03

Funny, witty and honest! Loved the book!!

If you need something that'll make you think a little about life or about a side of society you only hear about on the news, this is the book for you! You'll find yourself driving around just to listen to one more chapter. The characters seem to come to life and you'll wish you knew what "they grew up to be" or where to write them a letter. Some of the language used is not suitable for children, other than that the book is FANTASTIC!

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful


By Richard on 11-02-04

Starts slow, ends too soon

Initially, I was unimpressed with the reader of the book. At one point I almost decided to skip listening and move on to another title. I am VERY glad I stuck with it and got past the first hour. I became totally engrossed and actually got somewhat emotional at times. Feeling both good and sad at the events that take place it made me see that I need to appreciate my place in life a bit more.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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