by Russell Baker
One of the most critical economic periods in United States history occurred between the two world wars. Textbooks often devote entire chapters to discussing the causes and effects of this era. However, very little is ever said about the everyday people who were forced to face the hardship of the Depression head on.
Russell Baker, in his autobiography, Growing Up, deals with this time that is unfamiliar to so many young adults. Told in the first person as a reminiscence, the title seems most appropriate as it truly is his story of growing up, or coming of age, in a changing America.
The characters are well developed, from the tyrannical grandmother and over-achieving sister to the hard-working, devoted, and widowed mother. They are all typical enough in terms of their personalities that we can relate to them. Yet, the time frame seems to bring out a different set of family standards.
People who liked Russell Baker's syndicated column in The New York Times will be pleasantly surprised by this book. His quick wittedness is in peak form, but there is also a sincerity and insight that few writers could match. n
Review by S. C.,
New City, NY
Editor's Note: Russell Baker is also now the host of "Masterpiece Theater," seen weekly on PBS-TV.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.