Girls, Interrupted

Children pay a price when childhood ends too soon

Melissa Ann Pinney

Girls, Interrupted

The occasion of a girl's first period always brings with it a bittersweet moment in her mother's life. It is a harbinger of something she may have dreaded since her baby was born: the separation, the pulling away, the disappearance of the chatterbox little helper and the arrival of the moody, private young woman. It's the beginning of what I call Girl Land: the attenuated leave-taking each girl must undertake in adolescence, putting away the person she was as a child and coming to terms with the new identity she will assume as a woman. The mother isn't just melancholy about...