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Such practices necessarily obscure our view of the actual diarist, the authors note.

However, rather than concluding that these young diarists are, therefore, inaccessible except as figurations of an adult marketplace, Douglas and Poletti insist upon the dignity and agency of young authors and their creative self-representation. To consider these two realities side by side, Douglas and Poletti devise an approach to WWII diaries that recognizes but does not concede complete authority to adult interventions.

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Boas, the authors find, intervenes frequently in Rubinowicz's diary entries, creating a more constructed portrait of the diarist while providing rich pedagogical context, while Holliday's and Zapruder's editorial decisions more clearly frame Rubinowicz as a writer as well as a witness, fostering attention to his use of figurative language, tone, and symbol, and his manipulation of the diary mode.

The interplay between youth writers' self-representation and adults' intervention is not always so benign, as is evident in those chapters in Douglas and Poletti's book that consider the ways adult editors, publishers, reviewers, and readers have disparaged a writers' work due to their youth or, in some cases, exploited the appeal of childhood.

Chapter four's investigation of [End Page ] child-soldier memoirs describes this more troubling dynamic, outlining the controversy surrounding Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. The Australian newspaper exposed Beah's account of his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone as "exaggerated" or "false," claims that not only summon the specters of hoax and fictionalization but also ignore the impact Beah's age and trauma might exert on his ability to remember his past accurately.

Life Narratives and Youth Culture: Representation, Agency and Participation

This fidelity-focused reception takes into account Beah's role as a witness but ignores the literary qualities of a youth-authored trauma memoir, including a warped representation of Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.


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