Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Janet Bode

Janet Bode's been gone for nearly 10 years, but she's alive as ever in my heart. I can still hear her voice on the phone, which would lift my spirits whatever either of us was going through. Janet went through a lot, including a losing struggle with breast cancer and, long before I knew her, surviving a brutal gang rape.

Besides her influence on friends, Janet left an extraordinary body of work--at least 14 nonfiction books for young adults on some difficult subjects, like teen pregnancy, romantic troubles, divorce, eating disorders, and teens in prison. The heart of each book is direct quotes from the hundreds of teens she interviewed all over the country.

Though she had no children herself, Janet had enormous empathy for teenagers and connected with them deeply. I'm guessing that her books may have helped save some of their readers' lives.

Here are the titles of Janet's books for young adults that I know about: Beating the Odds: Stories of Unexpected Achievers; The Colors of Freedom: Immigrant Stories; Food Fight: A Guide to Eating Disorders; For Better or Worse: a Guide to Surviving Divorce; Hard Time: a Real Life Look at Juvenile Crime and Violence; Heartbreak and Roses: Real Life Stories of Troubled Love; Kids Having Kids; Kids Still Having Kids; New Kids in Town: Oral Histories of Immigrant Teens; New Kids in Town: Oral Histories of Immigrant Teens; Rape: Preventing It; Coping with the Legal, Medical and Emotional Aftermath; Truce: Ending the Sibling War; Trust & Betrayal; The Voices of Rape. Some of them are illustrated with cartoons by her partner, Stan Mack.

For adults, Janet wrote Fighting Back: How to Cope with the Medical, Emotional, and Legal Consequences of Rape; and View from Another Closet: Exploring Bisexuality in Women.

Today, Bastille Day, was Janet's birthday.

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