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True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall

Abridged / Go to Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Mark Salzman

Narrated By: Mark Salzman

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: September 2003

Duration: 5 hours 28 minutes


In 1997 Mark Salzman, bestselling author Iron and Silk and Lying Awake, paid a reluctant visit to a writing class at L.A.'s Central Juvenile Hall, a lockup for violent teenage offenders, many of them charged with murder. What he found so moved and astonished him that he began to teach there regularly. In voices of indelible emotional presence, the boys write about what led them to crime and about the lives that stretch ahead of them behind bars. We see them coming to terms with their crime-ridden pasts and searching for a reason to believe in their future selves. Insightful, comic, honest and tragic, True Notebooks is an object lesson in the redemptive power of writing.


  • S.E.S.

    Depressing, discouraging and sad but uplifting and inspiring. My emotions were up and down throughout the book. It was incredibly well written, Mark does an awesome job of relating his experience. Very poignant ending!

  • Peggy Stortz

    True Notebooks is absolutely riveting. I sat in my car long after I had reached my final destination just to hear more about Salzman's group of authors. I hope that the young men who contributed to this class know what an impact their words have had on so many people. I could not recommend this book more highly.

  • Katrina Knox

    Iwas a little weary of reading this book, I didn't want to hear a bunch of "oh feel sorry for me stories". SUPRISE it was a wonderful book, that left me crying at the end, but also wondering what if anything I could do for the very same kind of teens in my own area. Mr SAlzman, wrote it so that you see he is not trying to be a do gooder, he has faults just like the kids, and maybe it's what can bring us all together. Thank you Mark for a wonderfully touching book.

  • Blake Chapin

    This is an eye opening account of reaching out for a portion of society and contributing with one’s strengths. Well written and well read I found this to be an endearing reminder that all of us matter, or at least can matter if the effort is put forth. A very candid account of how similar we can be from each other while till being very much the same.