ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Retro Reading: Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway by Dalene Young

Updated on July 29, 2019

A Runaway Tale for the ages

If you're old enough to remember the mid 1970's, you probably remember the "controversial" movies of the week the major networks would air.

When I was 13, Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway first aired in September of 1976 and I remembered the movie showed the dangers of being a runaway. It scared me.

Even though the movie was a smash hit, it was novelized and while I remember reading it after the movie I never really thought too much about the book. A couple of years ago I was having a flashback to those innocent days o youth and started to search for the book. Luckily I found it online.

Since the book is basically written from the teleplay, there really aren't many surprises.

The story revolves around Dawn Wetherby, a 15 year old who wants to fit in with the kids at school. Holding her back is her alcoholic mother and younger brothers (who she'd do anything for) but she's tired of her mother making excuses for herself. All she really wants is a normal family life.

While her mother won't let her date she sneaks out to a school dance. When her mother finds out she goes to the school and causes an embarrassing scene for Dawn. The next day Dawn packs her things heading to Hollywood.

With only a few dollars she quickly finds out about life on the street. She finds herself bathing in the library restroom and sleeping on benches. Alone, hungry and sick she meets Alexander Duncan and he takes her back to his apartment so she can get some rest.

Hesitant at first she agrees and ends up living with him. Dawn isn't sure how he's managing to live on his own since he's underage as well. He tells her that he has a job working at a liquor store and one night she follows him only to discover him working the streets as a male prostitute.

Later she runs into Frankie Lee, another teenage prostitute she met a few days earlier. Dawn seems to think this would be a good way to make a lot of money so she tries it by herself. Without much luck she agrees to meet Frankie Lee's pimp Swan. The only thing Dawn wants is some money but doesn't realize the dangerous world she's getting into.

As Dawn works for the ruthless Swan, she begins to change. She has fallen in love with Alexander but has become one of Swan's puppets. Alexander tries to get her off of the streets but she won't have it. The all mighty dollar has spoken and she has the independence she's been craving.

After an arrest and learning of a murder Dawn still won't give up even though Alexander's trying everything under the sun to help her. He goes "straight" by getting a regular job with the help of her probation officer, Donald Umber, all the while she pushes away under Swan's influence.

While the movie might pop up every now and again the book is pretty easy to find online and not at a high price. It does follow the movie so if you're familiar with the movie the book should bring back some of those memories.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)