"Spider" by William Taylor.

Essay by vivHigh School, 10th grade May 2003

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Teenage Identity- Acceptance and the Struggle To Understand Oneself

By Anita Pea

Who am I? What kind of person am I? Discovering the answers to these as well as coping with the acne, the awkwardness, what's in, what's not, the drama of first love- we have all been though it. While the older generation found it tough themselves to deal with adolescence, it is even harder on today's generations.

With the lifestyles of our society, teenagers need to keep up with the trends and follow the interests of the majority- or they face prejudice and isolation.

Struggling to find themselves and to be accepted for who they are by their peers as well as growing up at the same time is getting more difficult for each generation, reflected by the rising teenage suicide rates of today.

So where can the troubled youth of today go to for guidance and reassurance that they are not alone?

Before looking in the direction of television and the Internet, maybe they should do some old fashioned reading.

"Spider" by William Taylor takes a bold look at teenage identity and the nature of ambition.

Matthew "Spider" Trent has just been voted Number Ten on a teen magazine's list of hottest hunks; he has great friends and an incredible musical talent. It seems he has everything going for him, but does he?

The book tells the story of Spider and his journey of self-discovery, as he becomes a man.

It is simply told in Spiders' perspective with colloquial language and profuse use of slang as he shares his private thoughts.

The story is not told in chronological order, rather the series of events is revealed randomly, giving depth and a sense of realism to the teenage character, as if Spider himself was sitting down having...