Teenage Dreams and Pains
5 9 2019
Teenage Dreams and Pains

How books and words can help young people grow

In the beautiful frame of the cloister of the Museo Diocesano, a former Augustinian monastery rich in history not far from from Lago di Mezzo (one of three artificial lakes surrounding the city centre), American author Meg Wolitzer delighted her mostly teenage audience with tales from her book for young adults Belzhar, translated into Italian as Quello che non sai di me.

In conversation with Italian young adult author Marco Magnone, which was full of banter, humour and captivating asides, Wolitzer revealed how as a bookish 15-year old girl preoccupied with poetry and death she would have loved to attend a school like The Wooden Barn in Vermont where protagonist Jamaica "Jam" Gallahue and other highly fragile, emotionally intelligent teenagers are sent to heal from a trauma which threatens to knock their lives off-course.

There, Jem and her peers join the exclusive mysterious class of Mrs Quenell's Special Topics in English and through a special journal-writing assignment discover important truths. Finding your own voice and identity through writing down your own urgent and compelling truths is the message Meg Wolitzer dispensed to her young audience.