Coming of Age: The True Adventures of Two American Teens

Genre: Politics and Current Events, Nonfiction; Author: Wayne Miller; Publisher: Random House

Twenty-five percent of U.S. children live in real poverty. To judge by Coming of Age: The True Adventures of Two American Teens, an intimate report on Generation Y, the rest live in spiritual poverty. The class of ‘93 at Burrillville High, in a prosperous Rhode Island suburb, let ace reporter G. Wayne Miller share their senior year. He hangs out in their classrooms, at their parties, even reads their diaries. We really get to like Dave Bettencourt, self-appointed candidate for class clown and publisher of an irreverent underground newspaper. He’s kind to underdogs, scornful of cliques, and a graceful loser on the basketball court. But his good qualities seem to flourish in spite of a steady diet of junk food, junk movies, junk culture. These kids learn about love from the published fantasies of the Material Girl, Madonna. They are Material Children: loved, lovable, and yet sadly deprived. B+

Originally posted June 23 1995 — 12:00 AM EDT

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