No Kidding provides a revealing look at adolescent females in Canada in the eighties. Myrna Kostash’s research involved interviews with fifty girls from diverse family backgrounds and socio-economic levels in Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver, A unique aspect of this research is the fact that the girls seem to have accepted Myrna completely—she spent time with them at parties, in bars, on shopping trips, and in the classroom, as well as visiting them in their homes and places of employment. Kostash profiles twelve of the girls, with each story being told from the girl’s own perspective. One criticism of these profiles might be that they deal only with girls in urban areas -there are no profiles of girls from small towns or rural settings.
The twelve individual portraits alternate with theme chapters, which provide general discussions of such topics as friends, school, boys, family, sexuality, culture, politics, and the future. This format, combined with a very readable style, provides useful insight into the teen point of view on all of the current issues-pregnancy and birth control, drugs and alcohol, math avoidance, unrealistic hopes for a romantic future, the influence of feminism, and so on.
This book would be of use to all who deal regularly with teenage girls. The insights it provides may be particularly useful to parents as they try to cope with this most difficult stage of the family life cycle.
— Susan E. Fowler
“An eye-opener.” Vancouver Courier
“A foray into exotic, little-known territory, made with Kostash’s usual energy and verve.” Kingston Whig-Standard
“No Kidding is…an exhilarating book.” Books in Canada
“Kostash writes with a poetic grace that vividly captures the look, feel, and smell of her subjects…the book goes beyond the numbers to bring its young women to life. No Kidding should join Dr Spock on every parent’s bookshelf.” Maclean’s