Growing Up Degrassi: Television, Identity and Youth Cultures


317 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 1-894549-48-1
DDC 791.45'72





Edited by Michele Byers
Reviewed by Bonnie Wagner

Bonnie Wagner is a historian at Parks Canada in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Growing Up Degrassi is a collection of essays about the Canadian
television programs Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and Degrassi:
The Next Generation. The essays are divided into three parts: youth
culture, identity, and fan experiences.

The essays in Part 1 compare American and Canadian youth programming,
discuss how the Degrassi programs connected with their teenage audience,
investigate differences between the CBC Degrassi series and the more
recent CTV version, and study the use of technology both on and off the
show. Part 2 focuses on how the Degrassi programs presented various
topical issues, including Canadian culture, race and ethnicity,
feminism, AIDS, teen drug use, sex, and class. Part 3 comprises articles
contributed by fans of the show.

The essays leave the reader with a clear understanding of why the
Degrassi series was so popular and what set it apart from its
competitors. The collection as a whole is somewhat repetitive, as many
of the authors make the same points (e.g., the show used real teenagers
instead of actors, and presented realistic and long-term consequences
for its characters). Nevertheless, Growing Up Degrassi will be an asset
for those who are interested in how teen issues were presented on the
Degrassi series during its various incarnations and how the teenage
audience related to the program.


“Growing Up Degrassi: Television, Identity and Youth Cultures,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 22, 2024,