Byalick, Marcia 1947-
BYALICK, Marcia 1947-
PERSONAL: Born April 9, 1947, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Al (a dry cleaner) and Mona (Goldsmith) Finkelstein; married Robert Byalick (a psychologist), November 22, 1967; children: Jennifer, Carrie. Education: Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, M.A., 1969. Politics: "Liberal Democrat." Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Theater, exercise, "any excuse to get together with friends and family."
ADDRESSES: Home and office—22 Lydia Ct., Albertson, NY 11507.
CAREER: Writer. Editor in chief, Women's Record, 1985-93. Columnist, feature writer, Spotlight, Distinction, 1996—. Hofstra University, C. W. Post writing teacher, 1993—. Journalist, Long Island section of the New York Times.
AWARDS, HONORS: Eleven awards from Long Island Press Club, 1986-2002, for work as a columnist; Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library, 1996, for It's a Matter of Trust; Quit It chosen as one of Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of 2003.
FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Reel Life, 1993.
You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Be Excellent, 1993. It's a Matter of Trust, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 1995. Quit It, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Linda Saslow) The Three Career Couple: Mastering the Art of Juggling Work, Home, and Family (humorous self-help), Peterson's Press (Princeton, NJ), 1993.
(With Linda Saslow) How Come I Feel So Disconnected If This Is Such a User Friendly World? Reconnecting with Your Family, Your Friends—and Your Life, Peterson's Press (Princeton, NJ), 1995.
(With Ronald A. Ruden) The Craving Brain: The Biobalance Approach to Controlling Addictions, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997, second edition published as The Craving Brain: A Bold New Approach to Breaking Free from Drug Addiction, Overeating, Alcoholism, Gambling, Perennial (New York, NY), 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: "Acne, clothes and friends are not all today's teens are concerned with," Marcia Byalick once told interviewer Ramin P. Jaleshgari of the New York Times. Byalick's young adult novels draw upon this conviction by centering on characters with serious problems, realistically depicted. In her first young adult novel to be widely reviewed, It's a Matter of Trust, the life of sixteen-year-old Erika Gershon is turned upside down when her father is indicted on racketeering charges. In addition to her feelings about her father, Erika must cope with the intrusion of the media upon her family, her friends' gossip, and the death of a beloved uncle. "Young readers will find a wealth of issues to discuss in this unsettling, thought-provoking novel," predicted School Library Journal contributor Jana R. Fine. Byalick further tests the finetuning on her readers' judgment when she causes her protagonist to cheat during a tennis match and then lie about it. Erika is also growing up during all this turmoil, and finds herself developing romantic feelings for her camp mate Greg. "YA girls will find much to like about Erika and her story of maturation," asserted Voice of Youth Advocates contributor Lucy Marx.
"My ultimate goal is to help teens become comfortable dealing with hard issues," Byalick told Jaleshgari. "Young people need to know that time always brings change. Through my writing I'd like to teach them that coping with those changes positively is always within their control." The "hard issue" young Carrie must deal with in Byalick's novel Quit It is Tourette's syndrome, and the involuntary twitches, tics, and throat-clearings which make her dream of disappearing into anonymity as she starts the seventh grade a mere illusion. Though Carrie has a difficult row to hoe, she has the enduring friendship of Clyde, who is bothered by obsessive compulsive disorder, but not by Carrie's twitching, and they both benefit from joining the Lunch Bunch, a support group, at school. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews praised Byalick's treatment of Tourette's within the framework of Carrie's story. "While [Byalick] doesn't skimp on any unpleasant details, she doesn't make it seem as if having the illness is the worst thing in the world either," this critic remarked.
Carrie's parents are in fact two people in the novel who are least able to cope with Carrie's problem honestly and in their efforts to put a brave face on their disappointment they hurt Carrie's feelings. Then, when Rebecca, a new girl at school, joins the Lunch Bunch and befriends Carrie, Byalick's protagonist is at first delighted, and then must reevaluate the relationship, for Rebecca is determined to come between Carrie and her old friend. "Carrie's voice is strong and the author tells a convincing story," asserted Linda B. Zeilstra in School Library Journal. Likewise, Booklist contributor Shelle Rosenfeld praised Byalick's protagonist and her informative, but not preachy, treatment of a neurological disorder rarely found in young adult literature: "Carrie is an engaging character, whose descriptive, first-person narrative balances a matter-of-fact tone with wry observations and lively commentary."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2002, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Quit It, p. 324.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 1996, p.156.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of Quit It, p. 1123.
New York Times, January 21, 1996, interview with Ramin P. Jaleshgari, p. 14.
School Library Journal, December, 1995, Jana R. Fine, review of It's a Matter of Trust, p. 128; November, 2002, Linda B. Zeilstra, review of Quit It, p. 158.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1996, Lucy Marx, review of It's a Matter of Trust, p. 368.