• RRP: £15.99
  • You Save: £1.03 (6%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

True Notebooks Hardcover – 2 Feb 2004


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£14.96
£6.94 £0.01

Trade In Promotion



Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (2 Feb 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747571309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747571308
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,018,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

'I devoured this book. It's not only the notebooks of juvenile offenders that are true (and insightful and poignant and very funny) but the account of the odyssey of their writing teacher as well. It's all soft underbelly in these pages, human beings at their best against great odds, searching for redemption.' Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking 'Early in the book, a friend of Salman's complains that there are no good books about juvenile delinquents. Well, there's one now - one that examines a broken system with grace, wit, and gripping storytelling.' Booklist

About the Author

Mark Salzman is the author of Iron and Silk, an account of his two years in China; three novels, The Laughing Sutra, The Soloist (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), Lost in Place, a memoir and the bestselling Lying Awake. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney on 22 Jan 2004
Format: Hardcover
TRUE NOTEBOOKS is author Mark Salzman’s account of his teaching writing to juvenile offenders in a California youth detention facility. Salzman almost stumbles upon this volunteer opportunity due to a case of writer’s block. In the late 1990’s, Salzman was at work on a novel that included a juvenile offender and he wanted to make the character more life-like. Salzman hoped that watching a friend teach writing to young prisoners would help, so he went to observe a class. Before he knew it, he was recruited to start a class of his own.
A strength of the book is that Salzman does not jump into the role of a social worker but rather remains a writer throughout the book. At times I was reminded of the writing of Jonathan Kozol. Like Kozol, Salzman brings the people in the book to life and the reader feels an instant connection with them. This includes not only the young offenders, but also the staff of the center, and two staff members he especially admired: Sr. Janet Harris and Mr. Sills. Yet the book is more than a piece of journalism or a stereotypical “year in the life of a juvenile detention facility.” Salzman uses his gifts as a writer, gifts demonstrated in his fictional works, which enable the book to flow. Though the book could easily become too sentimental, Salzman steers clear of this temptation. He never has any illusions that he is changing the world, but he does realize that what he does touches young lives. He has sympathy for the young people he works with, but he also realizes that these are young men who have committed very serious crimes, and some of them would do the same thing again. In the end the reader has a better understanding of the way in which writing and sharing our writing can help us connect with our truer selves.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
I have read a number of books written by this author and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. This book is no exception. Salzman wrote this book after he had taught a writing class at a juvenile correction facility in Los Angeles. The young men he taught were high-risk offenders and had been members of violent street gangs in the city. The book tells about the classes and the essays these kids produce. We get to know the characters,their lives and their innermost thoughts. There are so many poignant and sad revelations here, but the writing isn't sentimental or maudlin in any way. Also, we never forget that these young writers have comitted very serious crimes. Their stories are a sad indictment of the poverty of the ghetto culturally,spiritually and materially.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 75 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A favorite writer turns his gaze 1 Jan 2004
By bensmomma - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have always loved Mark Salzman's writing; he brings a deep respect and appreciation of the humanity of his characters to the page. Maybe that sounds easy to do when you're writing about, say, the spiritual life of a cloistered nun, as he did in his recent novel "Lying Awake."
In "True Notebooks," you might think he has taken on too big a task: he wants you to understand and appreciate the imprisoned Los Angeles teenagers he supervises in the "Inside Out Writers" program in LA Central jail. He does this by describing a year or more of biweekly readings of his jailhouse writers group. Inmates come, write, live out the details of their cases, and then, sadly, eventually disappear into the adult justice system.
He doesn't sugarcoat or sentimentalize these kids' stories--he understands and acknowledges the pain their crimes have caused, and he writes about their victims too. But by doing such a marvelous job showing how his subjects grow and change through their experiences, he forces you to see them as real and human. You will be astonished and saddened by the quality of their writing, and hold your own children closer as a result.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Powerful...Salzman does it again... 27 Oct 2003
By Kristen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Since Mark Salzman is one of my favorite writers, I couldn't wait to read his new work of non-fiction. Lost In Place made me laugh so hard in some parts that I cried, but in True Notebooks, I cried for different reasons.
This book chronicles Salzman's experiences as a volunteer writing instructor in L.A.'s Central Juvenile Hall. This could have easily been one of those memoirs where readers are taken down a "feel good-I'm such a noble guy" journey. We have all seen Hollywood renditions of such situations, but Salzman doesn't portray himself as a hero. Instead, he reveals his doubts, fears, and insecurities right along with those of the juvenile offenders he works with.
Without intending to, this book makes a powerful political statement as to why juveniles should not be tried as adults and how the justice system fails too many poor and minority youth. I was moved by the writing that these young men produced, and you will be, too. As an English teacher, I only dream of getting such work turned in to me.
As expected in a book such as this, there is no happy ending. But, Salzman has truly given these young men a voice by helping each find his own through the written word.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A truly moving read 1 Oct 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Salzman's latest is my favorite of his so far. It is not some glossy "To Sir, With Love" or "Dangerous Minds" but a real, insightful glimpse into the world of juvenile delinquents, showing them at their most vulnerable. Their stories (in their own words) are depressing, funny, heart wrenching and violent - but all are brutally honest. Their writings are framed by Salzman's thoughtful and spare prose; without judging these troubled kids he helps us appreciate how they became who they are. It is not a hopeful book, but it does build compassion and understanding, which is much more useful than hope. It is a fantastic book.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A book for writers, readers, and humans 1 Sep 2004
By Paul F. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'll admit my expectations were not high when I began this book, but my interest in teaching writing to young people in all situations propelled me forward. I was expecting this to turn into some goopy do-gooder account of letting violent crime youth offenders get in touch with their warm and fuzzy feelings.

I was wrong.

Not wrong because these kids didn't use writing to explore their feelings but wrong because I had preconceptions about how these types of participative journalism/nonfiction accounts often play out. Salzman does something very artful and human with this work -- he gets out of the way and lets the story unfold through the words of the kids he teaches and the people who are charged with their care. It is not until the end that the author begins to explore his part in what is happening.

Salzman's handling of the final third of this book should be required study for any aspiring nonfiction author (or novelist for that matter). You may read it to admire his literary skill or you may simply read it to feel your heart pound a little harder as you appreciate the privilege it is to get to know some of the people in this book through the eyes of an artist.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Writer's Block Can Make A Difference In Someone's Life 8 Jan 2004
By Timothy Kearney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
TRUE NOTEBOOKS is author Mark Salzman's account of his teaching writing to juvenile offenders in a California youth detention facility. Salzman almost stumbles upon this volunteer opportunity due to a case of writer's block. In the late 1990's, Salzman was at work on a novel that included a juvenile offender and he wanted to make the character more life-like. Salzman hoped that watching a friend teach writing to young prisoners would help, so he went to observe a class. Before he knew it, he was recruited to start a class of his own.
A strength of the book is that Salzman does not jump into the role of a social worker but rather remains a writer throughout the book. At times I was reminded of the writing of Jonathan Kozol. Like Kozol, Salzman brings the people in the book to life and the reader feels an instant connection with them. This includes not only the young offenders, but also the staff of the center, and two staff members he especially admired: Sr. Janet Harris and Mr. Sills. Yet the book is more than a piece of journalism or a stereotypical "year in the life of a juvenile detention facility." Salzman uses his gifts as a writer, gifts demonstrated in his fictional works, which enable the book to flow. Though the book could easily become too sentimental, Salzman steers clear of this temptation. He never has any illusions that he is changing the world, but he does realize that what he does touches young lives. He has sympathy for the young people he works with, but he also realizes that these are young men who have committed very serious crimes, and some of them would do the same thing again. In the end the reader has a better understanding of the way in which writing and sharing our writing can help us connect with our truer selves. Perhaps even more importantly, the book shows the difference we can make when we do reach out to others, knowing that the act of reaching out is what matters most.
It will be easy for some people to push a book like this aside and dismiss it as a somewhat liberal, do-gooder tract, but hopefully this will not happen in too many cases. Teachers and youth workers will probably find this book fascinating. The book could also be a warning to writers who suffer from writer's block: beware-you never know what you could be getting yourself into when you research your works!
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback