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First Words

     by Collected and edited by Paul Mandelbaum

First Words

Paul Mandelbaum, the editor of this book, persuaded 22 contemporary authors to share their childhood writings and photographs in this wonderful collection of "juvenilia." There is a page or two of information about each author and several examples of his/her early work. Some of the writings are from as early as age 4-10, but most are from the authors' teenage years. Stephen King, Amy Tan, Margaret Atwood, Michael Crichton, Gail Godwin, Joyce Carol Oates, Pat Conroy and John Updike are some of the authors included. Annotations of the early works demonstrate how themes, characters, and settings are present and further developed by the authors in their later works. 


Reviewed by mb, 2/01. Other reviews by mb.