You Be Me: Friendship in the Lives of Teen Girls


123 pages
ISBN 1-55037-738-8
DDC j305.235'082





Edited by Susan Musgrave
Reviewed by Elizabeth Levin

Elizabeth Levin is a professor of psychology at Laurentian University.


In this collection of seven short stories, women recall their adolescent
friendships. The author of “Good in a Group” explores sociability
and the value of belonging to a group. “Acting Lessons” tells the
story of a shy worrier who makes a friend in drama class. “Leaving
Judith” is about the unexpected death of a classmate. “The Gall of
the Girls” tells the story of two loner classmates who are thrust
together to represent their school in a literature contest. The title
story is about best friends—making them, keeping them, losing them,
and reuniting with them. “Beautiful Girls” is about one best friend,
a real beauty. The last entry, “The Popularity Plan,” looks at
“fitting in” over the high-school years.

Fortunately, there is life after high school. The child psychologist
David Elkind coined two phrases to describe adolescents’ distorted
images of their relationships: imaginary audience and personal fable.
The imaginary audience refers to the adolescent’s belief that she is
the focus of everyone else’s attention. In the personal fable,
teenagers develop an inflated opinion of themselves; because others are
always thinking about them, they must be unique. The stories in You Be
Me emphasize the egocentrism of the writers (in addition to the
uniqueness of their experiences); as a result, they are less engaging
than they should be. Recommended with reservations.


“You Be Me: Friendship in the Lives of Teen Girls,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,