By Carla Caruso, Clique Media
My intention with this book initially was just to read the excerpts from the writers I knew and loved. Women like Tara Moss, Kathy Lette and Jessica Adams wielded their pen for this collection of true stories on their teenage years – school formals, first kisses, first bras and beyond.
But once I\’d flipped to other familiar names, like Di Morrissey, Nikki Gemmell and Kathryn Eisman, I felt compelled to start the tome from the actual beginning and read it right through. And, I didn\’t regret it.
TV presenter and author Jacinta Tynan edited the bumper collection, with royalties going to SISTER2sister â€“ a mentoring program connecting teenage girls from disadvantaged backgrounds with women, who are older (and wiser).
Stories in the tome include Today Show presenter Lisa Wilkinson\’s take on attending a public school on Sydney\’s western outskirts and still managing to cut it as a magazine editor and TV host, doctor Cindy Pan on having to give up the love of her life as a profession â€“ ballet â€“ and television personality Jessica Rowe on coping with her mother\’s mental illness during her HSC.
Author and journalist Sue Williams wrote about her painful friendship break-up with twin girls. Still, she says: “I didn\’t realise it at the time but the twins had given me the greatest of leg-ups in my quest for a meaningful career. By the time we parted ways in our older teenage years, they\’d instilled in me a heart full of insecurity, a soul brimming over with sensitivity and a psyche warped by wretchedly low self-esteem allied to years living as an outsider, an observer of personal politics& All the main requirements, in fact, for life as a writer.”
Author Belinda Alexandra also made a poignant point about the less popular crowd at school: “It\’s the guy at school with the lisp, who becomes a sports star, the hirsute girl who becomes a successful businesswoman, the overweight girl with braces, who becomes the movie star. I saw this kind of coming to life among the kids in my year. Those who had suffered at school blossomed afterwards. The others are still running around with pictures of their glory days.” Too true.
Available now: Allen & Unwin RRP$24.99