Cover image for Bad girl : confessions of a teenage delinquent
Bad girl : confessions of a teenage delinquent
Vona, Abigail.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Rugged Land, [2004]

Physical Description:
261 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6046 .V66 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV6046 .V66 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV6046 .V66 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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At age fifteen, Abigail Vona lived a life so far out of control (booze, boys, drugs, stealing, and runaway charges that her father committed her to Peninsula Village, a controversial treatment facility for "behavior modification" in Louisville, Tennessee. She was kept inside this "level-three lockdown" and "wilderness boot camp" for nearly a year. And though it all started as a nightmare, it eventually became her salvation. An errant soul at war with the world and especially with herself, Vona unabashedly takes readers inside her own private Idaho. And while she negotiates the dangerous terrain of this "tough love" program, she reveals the many dark secrets of the Bad Girl sisterhood. Contending with various behavioral problems (sexual excess, violence, drug addiction, anorexia, self-mutilation, etc.) some of these girls succeed, while others must either continue serving their term, or worse, be kicked back to their desperate lives on the outside. Vona's tells her vivid story with a twelve-step, chapter-by-chapter descent to rock bottom, which arcs into a twelve-step, chapter-by-chapter ascent to a new way of seeing her life. Most controversial, Vona secured, and includes throughout the book, excerpts from her actual psychiatric "progress notes" to both underscore and belie her narrative. A book that will resonate with young women and their mothers alike, Bad Girl is an Every Girl story of teenage rebellion and self-discovery, accelerated to the extreme. Abigail Vona is from West Hartford, Connecticut. After being released from Peninsula Village, she attended the Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut, a school serving students with learning disabilities such as ADD and dyslexia, graduating in May 2003. She is currently taking classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The title of Vona's memoir of her stay in a behavior rehabilitation facility for troubled adolescents is far more provocative than her book's content. Fifteen-year-old Vona's father commits her to Tennessee's Peninsula Village for the usual transgressions of angst-ridden teens: shoplifting, drug use, lying and running away from home. Initially, Vona rebels against the institute's stringent rules, only to find that compliance is key to survival. Stripped of the most basic liberties, Vona takes several weeks to make sense of Peninsula Village's seemingly illogical rules. But she earns privileges as the year progresses and predictably learns the value of trust, respect and responsibility. To distinguish her book from the Girl, Interrupted genre of teenage mental patient-cum-diarist stories, Vona juxtaposes progress notes from her therapy sessions and comments from the institution's staff with her own unenlightened, grouchy account of recovery and rehabilitation. The result is jarring. The notes' unsentimental insights will prompt readers to reconsider their opinions of Vona: in trying to reconcile the differing versions of her behavior and attitude, readers may doubt Vona's veracity in her dual roles as patient and storyteller. More, Vona's unpolished narrative voice relies too heavily on the use of the notes to propel the narrative forward. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book is both a gripping diary by an out-of-control teenager who spent a year in a tough-love wilderness boot camp and a cumbersome, disconnected autobiography. Sent to "the Village" by her father, Vona goes through different degrees of rehabilitation, some in group, some solitary, most grueling. Her peers are hardcore delinquents with backgrounds in drugs, prostitution, truancy, and abuse. Further complicating the story is the friction among Vona's father, stepmother, and mother, with whom she is allowed limited phone conversations. The diary is pretty graphic and pretty awful, with Vona witnessing the near murder of a counselor. The Village is neither praised nor condemned; some girls, like Vona, make it, and some don't. Only in the author's note at the end do readers learn that Vona is so dyslexic that she dictated most of the diary to her teacher after she left the Village a fact that should have been made clearer from the start. Perhaps a more thoughtful approach would have kept readers in the story. For larger memoir collections, though there may be demand given endorsements by novelists Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis. Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.