Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Adolescence can be a very turbulent and difficult time for some kids. It is different for every single child in every single city, in every single country. No two children have the exact same experiences. Adolescence for me was a very confusing time. I did not fully realize everything that was going on and how much it would affect me later in life. By reading this book, I realize the impact that a time like adolescence has on a person and did have on me.

The first story that really jumped out and caught my attention was the very first one, "The Jacket" by Gary Soto. Gary tells the story of how he needed a new jacket when he was in the sixth grade. He really wanted a leather biker jacket, but instead ended up with a jacket "the color of day-old guacamole." He also artfully describes the jacket as being a green, ugly brother who always tagged along.

In the story, he goes on to describe how this jacket was the most horrible thing that had ever happened to him. He blamed the jacket for all the things that went wrong throughout the years he had it. Bad grades, getting beaten up by the school yard bully, and the fact that he had no girlfriend all occurred, he felt, because of this awful green jacket that he was forced to wear.

I can relate to this story in several ways. When I was younger, I wanted to have the best things. All the cool kids had the best brand"“name clothing and accessories. I wanted all that stuff, too. It was just not within my reach, though. I lived in a modest neighborhood. My family is far from poor but neither are we rich. My parents always believed in...