Friday, August 4, 2017

*Review* Teenage Diaries: Then and Now

Genre: Nonfiction Audiobook
Published: March 3, 2015


Since 1996, the Teenage Diaries series has given tape recorders to young people around the country. They conduct interviews, keep audio journals, and record the sounds of daily life--usually collecting more than 30 hours of raw tape over the course of the year, edited into documentaries airing on NPR's All Things Considered. Whether it's the story of Amanda, the gay teen trying to understand her sexuality, or the story of Juan, who crossed the Rio Grande with his family illegally, these stories offer insight into the mysterious life of teenagers. Sixteen years later five of those diarists return to chronicle their grown-up lives. 

RADIO DIARIES has helped pioneer a new form of citizen journalism, empowering ordinary people to report on their own lives and histories. Radio Diaries has won every major award in broadcast journalism and produced some of the most memorable documentaries ever heard on public radio. Founder and Executive Producer Joe Richman is and award-winning producer and reporter. Before founding Radio Diaries, he worked on the NPR program All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday, and Car Talk. He also teaches radio documentary at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.


I received a copy of this audiobook through Audiobook Sync's summer reading for teenagers program for free with absolutely zero strings attached. This is my honest review. 

This book was originally a radio series on NPR, so the people featured are real people. I'm also pretty sure that they are around my age, so I could relate at least a little bit to their life experiences during both segments of this series. The series was done in two parts, the first part was when the participants were teenagers and then like fifteen years later when they were adults. I thought it was interesting to see how everyone's lives had changed over that time. There wasn't a whole lot of talk about how the participants felt about their teenage selves, so I'm left wondering about that. I also kind of wonder if this radio series was a precursor to 16 and Pregnant (one of the participants was a teen mom.) 

Because these were just snippets of recordings from the daily lives of somewhat random people, there wasn't really a storyline per se. It was really just a glimpse into the daily life of a diverse set of people. I thought it was interesting to see how they navigated life differently, but also how they were pretty much the same. There were also several different, unrelated conflicts. If we'd only seen the teenage years, these conflicts would have been largely unresolved, so I'm glad we got a glimpse into the participant's adult lives as well. 

This is only available as an audiobook (since it started as a radio series), so I'd really only recommend it if you enjoy both reality tv and audiobooks. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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