PERSONAL: Born in Chicago, IL. Education: Yale University, graduated, 1987.
CAREER: Writer; leader of writing seminars for high school students.
Tenth Grade, Random House (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Joseph Weisberg's first novel, Tenth Grade, is structured as a journal kept by an average sophomore named Jeremiah Reskin who lives in an average New Jersey suburb called Hurst Falls. The writing style is also that of an average tenth grader, with run-on sentences and other instances of creative grammar. Although several reviewers were initially skeptical of this device, "after a few pages, this strategy gets less annoying than it initially seems, and you're rather effortlessly and convincingly sucked into the slipstream of dim teenage consciousness," David Kamp wrote in the New York Times Book Review.
In this journal of Jeremy's coming of age, the reader hears his thoughts about important teenage firsts—his first experimentations with drugs and alcohol, his sexual initiation—and about such common experiences as hanging out with friends in basement rec rooms and struggling to master Spanish. When writing about these experiences, "Weisberg fondly and hilariously brings every tiny detail to life," Janet Maslin noted in the New York Times. Maslin and other reviewers also noted that Weisberg did an excellent job of actually sounding like a teenager keeping a journal. He "admirably captures the inarticulate voice of a suburban tenth-grader," observed John Green, writing in Booklist, even to the extent of recording the excessive "ogling of the female form" common to fifteen-year-old boys.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2002, John Green, review of TenthGrade, p. 815.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2001, review of TenthGrade, p. 1579.
Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2002, Mark Rozzo, review of Tenth Grade, p. R-10.
New York Times, February 14, 2002, Janet Maslin, review of Tenth Grade, p. E15.
New York Times Book Review, February 3, 2002, David Kamp, review of Tenth Grade, p. 31.
Publishers Weekly, November 19, 2001, review of Tenth Grade, pp. 49-50.*