Growing Up Fast by Joanna Lipper

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In Growing Up Fast Joanna Lipper tells the life stories of Amy, Shayla, Jessica, Colleen, Liz, and Sheri--six teen mothers whom she first met in l999 when they were all enrolled at the Teen Parent Program in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Making a short documentary film was only the beginning of an extraordinary journey that continued for four years as Lipper videotaped and interviewed the girls, their families, and the fathers of their babies. This raw material was the basis for Growing Up Fast, which in the words of Naomi Wolf, "reads like a nineteenth-century novel about young women burdened by fates they did not choose."

Less than a decade older than these teen parents, Joanna Lipper was able to blend into the fabric of their lives. She earned their trust as they shared with her the daily reality of their lives and their experiences growing up in the economically depressed post-industrial landscape of Pittsfield. Often masked by statistics, demonized by the media, and stereotyped by people of all political persuasions, the voices and stories of these teen parents reveal the complex, disturbing, and often painful reality behind a vast array of social issues including welfare reform, low wages, drugs, domestic and dating violence, the prevalence of child abuse, and the role of education.

In the tradition of The Corner and Studs Terkel’s Working, Growing Up Fast is a landmark work of empathy that will speak powerfully to parents, teachers, social workers, policy-makers, doctors, psychologists, policemen, lawyers, and teenagers.

About Joanna Lipper

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Joanna Lipper holds an M.Sc in psychoanalytic developmental psychology. For her first documentary, Inside Out: Portraits of Children, she received the Hollywood Discovery Award. Her second documentary, Growing Up Fast, was distinguished as one of the outstanding short documentaries of 1999 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Joanna lives in New York City, where she runs Ruby Slipper Productions. Growing Up Fast is her first book.
Published November 1, 2003 by Picador. 336 pages
Genres: Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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In her compelling and important first book, documentary filmmaker Lipper recounts the difficult lives of six teenage mothers in economically depressed Pittsfield, Mass.

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