Basic Information More Information Latest News Questions and Answers Blog Entries Videos Links Book Reviews 100 Things Guys Need to Know 3 NBS of Julian Drew A Guide to Asperger Syndrome A Tribe Apart A User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HD A Walk in the Rain With a Brain Adolescence and Body Image Adolescent Depression After Aggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents All Alone in the Universe Amelia Rules America Another Planet Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents Artemis Fowl Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second Edition Autistic Spectrum Disorders Bad Girl Between Two Worlds Beyond Appearance Beyond Diversity Day Big Mouth & Ugly Girl Bill Henson Bipolar Disorders Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth Boy Boys Branded Breaking Point Breathing Underwater Bringing Up Parents Bullying and Teasing Can't Eat, Won't Eat Catalyst Child and Adolescent Psychological Disorders Children Changed by Trauma Children with Emerald Eyes Children’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of One Concise Guide to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Conquering the Beast Within Contentious Issues Cracked Cut Dancing in My Nuddypants Demystifying the Autistic Experience Descartes' Baby Dilemmas of Desire Dirty Doing It Doing School Dying to Be Thin Eating an Artichoke Educating Children With Autism Elijah's Cup Ellison the Elephant Emerald City Blues Emotional and Behavioral Problems of Young Children Every Girl Tells a Story Fast Girls Feather Boy Firegirl Forever Young Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome Freewill Geography Club Georgia Under Water Girl in the Mirror Girlfighting Girlsource GirlWise GLBTQ Good Girls Goodbye Rune Granny Torrelli Makes Soup Growing Up Girl Handbook for Boys Healing ADD Heartbeat Helping Children Cope With Disasters and Terrorism Helping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional Problems Hollow Kids How Children Learn the Meanings of Words How to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can't Hug Me Intrusive Parenting It's Me! It's Perfectly Normal Jake Riley Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key Juvenile-Onset Schizophrenia Keeping the Moon Killing Monsters Kim: Empty Inside Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas Laura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster Learning About School Violence Leo the Lightning Bug Let Kids Be Kids Liberation's Children Life As We Know It Lisa, Bright and Dark Little Chicago Lord of the Flies Loser Love and Sex Love That Dog Manic Mastering Anger and Aggression Mind Fields Miss American Pie Mom, Dad, I'm Gay. Monster More Than a Label Myths of Childhood New Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar Disorder No Two Alike Not Much Just Chillin' Odd Girl Out Odd Girl Speaks Out On the Frontier of Adulthood One Hot Second One in Thirteen Ophelia Speaks Ophelia's Mom Our Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome Out of the Dust Overcoming School Anxiety Parenting and the Child's World Parenting Your Out-Of-Control Teenager Pediatric Psychopharmacology Period Pieces Phobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents PINS Praising Boys Well Praising Girls Well Pretty in Punk Princess in the Spotlight Problem Child or Quirky Kid? Psychotherapy As Praxis Psychotherapy for Children and Adolescents Raising a Self-Starter Raising Blaze Raising Resilient Children Reclaiming Our Children Redressing the Emperor Reducing Adolescent Risk Rethinking ADHD Reweaving the Autistic Tapestry Rineke Dijkstra Ritalin is Not the Answer Action Guide Running on Ritalin Say Yes Sexual Teens, Sexual Media Sexuality in Adolescence Shooter Short People Should I Medicate My Child? Skin Game Smack Smashed Staying Connected to Your Teenager Stick Figure Stoner & Spaz Stop Arguing with Your Kids Straight Talk about Your Child's Mental Health Strong, Smart, & Bold Student Depression Survival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar Disorder Surviving Ophelia Taking Charge of ADHD, Revised Edition Taming the Troublesome Child Targeting Autism Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching Teen Angst? Naaah That Summer The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent Psychiatry The Arctic Incident The Bipolar Child The Buffalo Tree The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander The Carnivorous Carnival The Depressed Child The Developing Mind The Dragons of Autism The Dream Bearer The Dulcimer Boy The Einstein Syndrome The Epidemic The Eternity Cube The Explosive Child The Field of the Dogs The First Idea The Identity Trap The Inside Story on Teen Girls The Little Tern The Mean Girl Motive The Men They Will Become The Myth of Laziness The New Gay Teenager The Notebook Girls The Nurture Assumption The Opposite of Invisible The Order of the Poison Oak The Other Parent The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life The Real Truth About Teens and Sex The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager The Secret Lives of Girls The Sex Lives of Teenagers The Shared Heart The Spider and the Bee The Steps The Thought that Counts The Unhappy Child The Vile Village The Whole Child Then Again, Maybe I Won't Therapy with Children Things I Have to Tell You Touching Spirit Bear Trauma in the Lives of Children Treacherous Love True Believer Twisted Unhappy Teenagers Way to Be! We're Not Monsters What about the Kids What Would Joey Do? What's Happening to My Body? Book for Boys What's Happening to My Body? Book for Girls When Nothing Matters Anymore When Sex Goes to School When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder Where The Kissing Never Stops Whose America? Why Are You So Sad? Winnicott Worried All the Time Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy! You Hear Me Young People and Mental Health Your Child, Bully or Victim?
by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Review by Liz Bass on Apr 28th 2002
True Believer is not really a novel, but a kind of prose-poem
written in a stream-of-consciousness style. There is an adolescent
spontaneity about it that works well in moving the story forward,
but eventually that wears thin. The narrator is Verna LaVaughn,
and she takes us through the experiences of her fifteenth year.
That wears thin as well.
Here are some of the things we learn about her: She prefers to
use the second of her two names. She lives in a housing project.
She has friends whom she outgrows. She has a crush on a boy who
doesn't reciprocate. She has a strong mother who wants to see
her succeed. She is a good student and is placed in tough classes
with no-nonsense teachers. She is guided by a wise counselor toward
her goal of going to college. A boy in her Science class likes
her but she doesn't like him
I doubt that many fifteen-year-old girls who attend inner-city
schools will bond with LaVaughn, whose race and cultural background
are never stated. I do think that some school employees and social
service professionals might be interested in learning more about
how the LaVaughns of this world feel about the possibilities of
life. After reading her story, they might better understand how
to support and encourage a girl like her to be the best that she
True Believer is a first person narrative, so all other
points of view are shut out. A grown-up reader cannot fully identify
with the adults in the story because they are little more than
cardboard cut-outs. To take this book for what it is -- a rant
against a goofed up world -- a reader of any age must bring more
than a tablespoon of good will to the effort. Unfortunately, that
good will is bound to dry up, given that the book is about fifty
pages too long due to a bad case of never-cutting-to-the-chase-itis.
© 2002 Liz Bass
Liz Bass is a retired teacher and principal. She is the Mayor
of a small city in Northern California.