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1 Burnside Children's Young Adult- Biography

Please Don't Kill the Freshman: A Memoir


Please Don't Kill the Freshman: A Memoir Cover

ISBN13: 9780060529383
ISBN10: 0060529385
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $4.95!





I wasn't sure I could do it, but I was asked to teach a creative writing class to eighth graders, and I said yes. Isn't eighth grade around the time that kids become unruly smartasses? I was about to find out.

I'd always been anti-teacher when it came to writing. Part of that came from jealousy towards people who could afford to go to college and take classes taught by famous writers, and part of it came from the fact that I believe learning through reading is more valuable than listening to one person's opinion in a classroom. I had these ideas about being an unconventional teacher: I would tell the kids about doing cut-ups a' la William Burroughs; they would learn how to break rules of grammar; they were encouraged to use slang and even swear words if necessary. Luckily, the kids responded and the results were pretty good all around.

One of the students was Zoe Trope. She told me early on that she had found one of my books at the library and checked it out. I was alarmed at first and told her that she better not show her parents. It was a book full of all kinds of sex and irresponsible behavior. She began making sly remarks about the book in class and even showed it to a few others. I was a little nervous about the whole thing but would eventually get through the course without a parent threatening my life.

Zoe was one of the students who insisted I give them my e-mail address on the last day. I got a few e-mails from her that summer. I would respond by telling her what books she should read. I knew she was ready to explore a more ambitious style of writing when she told me she was reading authors like Walter Kirn, Charles Bukowski, and an anthology of lesbian vampire stories. When she began high school just last year she started to send me these little journal-like updates about her friends and teachers. I was blown away by how funny, scathing, and perceptive they were. She was good in my writing class but this was pure inspiration, pure adrenaline. I told her to keep sending me the updates and that she was "on to something." Soon after, I told her I wanted to make a book out of them. And now, here it is.

Zoe Trope is not her real name. We felt that she should use a pen name so that she wouldn't get in trouble with teachers or any of her friends' parents. We won't reveal what high school this is, but it is a real Portland high school and nothing is fictionalized. Zoe, who just turned fifteen, is an amazing young writer and I think her book is one of the most exciting things I've yet to publish.

Kevin Sampsell
Future Tense Books
September, 2001

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PDXRadReader, May 28, 2007 (view all comments by PDXRadReader)
I've heard this is on the reading list at some high schools -- a good idea if we want to inspire young adult readers. It's real, it's creative, it's edgy and urban -- it's something a young person can identify with, or if not, would be curious about.

Like The Catcher in the Rye of today.
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Product Details

A Memoir
Trope, Zoe
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Biography & Autobiography - General
Social Situations - Emotions & Feelings
High school students
Social Situations - Abuse
Social Issues - Adolescence
Social Issues - Emotions & Feelings
Biography & Autobiography : General
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
August 2004
Grade Level:
from 9
7.98x5.34x.81 in. .56 lbs.
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Young Adult » General
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Biographies
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Teen Issues

Please Don't Kill the Freshman: A Memoir Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages HarperTempest - English 9780060529383 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Please Don't Kill the Freshman is a totally honest (sometimes brutally so) look at surviving high school. The author was in high school when she wrote this funny, heart-breaking, kick-ass journal-cum-novel, and you can tell: all the blood and guts of high school is right here. But it is also an eloquent portrayal of young adulthood, written by a woman wise beyond her years.

"Staff Pick" by ,

"This high school memoir by Zoe Trope takes on all the cliched aspects of high school, but its form dissolves the catalogued pop culture references and the near universal alienation felt by high school misanthropes and pulls off a precise critique. Zoe edges poetics up against descriptive laundry lists of daily events and the result is an alluring portrait of dissatisfaction and revulsion in the face of the banal intricacies of the daily high school experience. Pop references crop up augmenting events detailing the ugly face of media inundation, but in between all the lifeless trend-setting and social elbowing, Zoe finds moments of beauty and describes them with an almost unintentionally nostalgic tone. Underneath the text of this largely personal account of high school there are moments of razor sharp commentary. Zoe slices open the belly of the Gap-laden and television saturated world and exposes a buzzing tension largely ignored as she soberly explores the violence of a constantly accelerating culture."

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Trope's memoir of her sophomore year, the teenage author struggles with society and her own identity, falls in love with a girl who becomes a boy and, in a postmodern moment, describes publishing this memoir. The paper-over-board book reads like a diary, with plenty of explicit language and sex talk; characters are given cryptic names ('Linux Shoe' is her gay best friend; 'Scully/Skull' is her 'first girlfriend turned first boifriend') and some of the writing is cryptic too. Trope juxtaposes sophisticated references and ideas next to talk of band practice and earth club, reflecting her complicated emerging identity as a bright, talented and driven teen who doesn't fit into society's mold. The entries progress in seductively brief, self-contained bites (more like fits and starts than a traditional chronological memoir) and readers will find many moments to which they can easily relate ('Forced out of slumber to argue with my hair. I claim defeat'). At times, Trope's rants can be pretentious or obvious ('I wonder when I will be content with everything and nothing that I have'), but the author's willingness to make herself vulnerable, especially in her writing about Scully's gender transformation, makes for an impressive read ('My heart knows that my boyfriend is truly genderless, a creature beyond definition, a walking heart with limbs and lips'). Ages 14-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[Zoe's] writing is engaging, the cast of characters is vibrant, and the book's ability to capture high school life for those on the edge of the culture is uncanny. Readers, regardless of age, will recognize themselves in this new classic."
"Review" by , "Zoe Trope's tale of a frustrated freshman girl is lively, personal, and refreshingly honest. We follow her through mercurial attractions and the tedious vagaries of high school life while being treated to some of the most enlightened and original observations since Holden Caulfield first left prep school." Mark Jude Poirier, author of Goats
"Review" by , "Imagine all the angst and lust of high school. Now imagine having all the intellectual and emotional maturity to capture every excruciating moment. Zoe Trope has written a book for those of us who remember high school all too well...and for those of us who have blocked it out completely. Who knew that the deadening monotony of high school could inspire such passion, wit, and delectable turns of phrase? Thank god she survived her first year of high school and lived to tell us about it." Thea Hillman, author of Depending on the Light
"Review" by , "I am in awe of Zoe Trope. She is capable of expressing so much feeling, with such beautiful authenticity. This book is more than the kind of good story we've become satisfied with. It's more than interesting. It's art." Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything Is Illuminated
"Review" by , "The strength and uniqueness of [Zoe's] voice and the raw nature of her style are a welcome change. She doesn't fall into some of the conventions that plague creative nonfiction, trying to make sense of senseless events, philosophizing or meditating on every mundane detail."
"Synopsis" by , At 17, Zoe Trope has captured the attention of bestselling authors and the national media with her startling memoir of high school. Now, Zoe adds a new chapter exclusively for this paperback edition.
"Synopsis" by , Please Don't Kill the Freshman is the true tale of one Portland girl's first year of high school. It signals the emergence of a true and totally original voice in the world of underground writing.

Written at the start of the new century, while the author was just fourteen, Please Don't Kill the Freshman is a brilliant and entertaining look at what really happens in today's high schools. Her name has been changed to Zoe Trope to protect the identity of herself and her friends.

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