In this book and reading the confessions of a teenager contemplating suicide may be uncomfortable, but we must do so to understand why self-harm has become an epidemic, especially in the United States. What drives teenagers to self-harm? What makes death so attractive, so liberating, and so inevitable for so many? Williams captures the currents that turn self-destruction into an act of self-determination, which also allows him to propose more effective solutions to resolving the suicide crisis.
Always the compassionate listener and watchful ethnographer, Terry Williams courageously takes on teenage suicide, one of the nations most vexing and tragic subjects, He understands the problem as a father, mentor, teacher, and friend of victims and their families. May the voices of despairing teenagers whom Terry Williams has presented here be heard throughout the nation.
Credentials Doctoral Program in Sociology, Graduate Center City University of New York
Terry Williams provides a rare and compassionate account of self-harm and the wish to 'check out' of this world via his compilation of teenage suicide notes obtained through a most mindful application of the ethnographic method. This is vital reading for mental health trainees and professionals, sociologists, policy makers and all in search of a fuller, experience-near, understanding of suicide.
Credentials New School for Social Research