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Time Capsule: Short Stories About Teenagers Throughout the Twentieth Century Hardcover – October 12, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
While many look toward the future as the year 2000 approaches, Gallo (No Easy Answers: Short Stories About Teenagers Making Tough Choices) scans the past. In this "time capsule" of an anthology, he adroitly traces the evolution of 20th-century American trends, inventions and values by amassing 10 original stories from prominent YA authors, each of whom explores a different decade via a teenage protagonist. In the year 1904, Richard Peck's farm-girl heroine is awed by wonders of the modern world displayed at the St. Louis World's Fair. For the '50s, Trudy Krisher brilliantly contrasts seventh-grader Nancy's delight in the TV show I Love Lucy with Nancy's father's fear-based militarism and decision to build a bomb shelter in the backyard. Bruce Brooks satirizes the '70s through his narrator's extremist parents, who have changed their names from Al and Frieda to Like and Snow; they bake hash brownies and warn their son not to "disalign your chakras"Auntil they get swept up in disco. The stories are smoothly connected and insightfully introduced by succinct historic prefaces, giving readers new ways to explore their heritage. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-A prolific anthologist presents 10 new stories, each set in a different decade of the 20th century, from such eminent authors as Will Weaver, Chris Lynch, Bruce Brooks, and Trudy Krisher. Each selection is prefaced by a list of its decade's major events and inventions, and followed by a recitation of its author's awards, an occasional URL, and/or a hint about the writer's current projects. Each story pairs a teenager with an issue or condition of the day: a horizon-expanding visit to the 1904 World's Fair frames Richard Peck's "Electric Summer"; a star quarterback in Chris Crutcher's "Fourth and Too Long," set in the `60s, is told to choose between cutting his hair or being cut from the team; and Graham Salisbury shows a young Hawaiian overcoming his dislike of "haole" servicemen in "Waiting for the War." Bruce Brooks contributes a hilarious tale of a hippie peacenik couple whose son wants to play football, and the collection closes with Alden Carter's hopeful "Y2K.CHATRM43," in which teenagers go online for truly worthy purposes. The timely theme, star-quality contributor list, and ably done contents make this eminently suitable for assignment use.
John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Each short story is introduced with a short but insightful capsule of what was prominent about that decade, and what was invented in that decade, giving a "feel" of the spirit of each decade. The tone is very appealing -- just the right amount of detail, oriented toward teens. The short stories are very good in themselves -- appealing plots (often with a twist), multidimensional characters, grand themes, and relevant to the lifestyle of the decade. Following each short story is a description of that story's author, attractively describing the author's other works, and inviting further reading.
In light of the previous review, I re-scanned the "60's" and "70's" stories. What profanity there was, was scarce, in context and not worse than I've seen in upper elementary assigned fiction. Regional standards may vary, of course.
The "60's" story is of Benny Woods, a small-town high school football star who is facing a conflict with his coach over his long hair: cut it, or don't play. The stakes are high, as not playing means losing a potential college scholarship. Benny's relationship with his grandmother is a fascinating side story both personally to Benny, and as it relates to the way our society treats seniors.
The "70's" story makes light of drug use, but it's told in the style of an obvious fantasy: the protagonist's parents SO want to be "hip" that they send marijuana brownies and psychedelics to school in their son's lunchbox, while he wants nothing more than to be square.
The only weak and inappropriate story, in my opinion, is the "80's" story. Mathias Rust, of course, was the 19-year-old who flew a Cessna, undetected, into the heart of Russia and landed in the center of Moscow for the cause of peace in 1987. In the "80's" story, his supposed brother, Ingo, comes to the US as an exchange student. Ingo pretends to be Mathias in order to be popular with the girls at an all-night under-age drinking party. The drinking party is portrayed as an inevitable and even beneficial teen activity. The quality of the writing is poor, and the connection with grand themes is missing.
In sum, this is an excellent book, except for the "80's" story!