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Jill Zimmerman Rutledge (1951-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1951, in Chicago, IL; Education: University of Colorado, B.A., 1973; University of Illinois, M.S.W., 1976; Family Institute of Chicago, certificate, 1981.


office—636 Church St., Ste. 404, Evanston, IL 60201. Agent—Susan Cohen, Writer's House, 21 West 26th St., New York, NY 10010.


Author and psychotherapist. In private practice of psychotherapy, Evanston, IL, 1981—. Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), Highland Park, IL, clinical consultant, 1981—. Lecturer and speaker at conferences; guest on radio and television programs. Young Women's Christian Association, Evanston, member of board of directors, 1984-86


Evanston Mental Health Association, Academy of Certified Social Workers, National Association of Social Workers, National Register of Social Workers (diplomate, 1987—), American Board of Certified Social Workers, Illinois Society for Clinical Social Workers.


Dealing with the Stuff That Makes Life Tough: The Ten Things That Stress Girls out and How to Cope with Them, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 2004.

Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Humanist, Mothering, and Chicago Tribune.


Jill Zimmerman Rutledge is a clinical social worker who is also known to many young women as the author of Dealing with the Stuff That Makes Life Tough: The Ten Things That Stress Girls out and How to Cope with Them. By creating a mix of historical quotes and anecdotal stories focusing on the personal experiences of a diverse group of young women, Rutledge addresses the seemingly endless difficulties created while growing up as a modern female adolescent. The book addresses dilemmas such as stress, parental divorce, peer and romantic relationships, and sexual identity, and "Every chapter encourages readers to find ways to respect themselves," remarked School Library Journal critic Karen Hoth. "Although the anecdotes are generic and include only a first name," Hoth added, "they are broad in scope and right on target."

Rutledge told Something about the Author: "My goal for writing Dealing with the Stuff That Makes Life Tough was to help girls find their own unique, personal coping skills to calm down and soothe themselves in the face of stress. Coping skills give us a sense of inner power and effectiveness; in my book I compare them to Dorothy's ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz. For just like Dorothy, we all need to find our own "ruby slippers" to help us cope with the difficult situations that life can throw our way.

"For chapters in the book I chose ten common issues that middle-school and high-school girls now face, based on my clinical experience of counseling girls and young women for over twenty years. Although I changed and rearranged names and identifying information to protect privacy, three girls share their stories—and coping skills—in each chapter.

"It is my hope that by reading through all of the chapters in the book the reader will find many ways to cope with her particular issues. I encourage the reader to experiment with lots of different coping skills and to discover the ones that work best—to find her own special "ruby slippers!" I also hope that the reader will gain empathy for other girls as she reads about problems that are different from her own.

"Besides being an author, I've maintained a busy practice in psychotherapy for more than twenty years. I'm also a mom. Consequently, when I write I have to be very disciplined. I have specific writing days and at those times I'm completely focused on my work. I like to write with an opera CD playing in the background. Around 4 p.m. on a writing day, I look around and my house is a mess, I'm still in my pajamas—all I've done is work on my book! Luckily, I have a supportive and understanding family.

"My advice to aspiring writers is DON'T GIVE UP! It took me a long time to find an agent and a publisher, but once things got started they really took off!"

Biographical and Critical Sources


Arizona Republic, June 27, 2004, Monica Mendoza and Maggie Galehouse, "Parents Can Overlook Pressure Go Girls Feel."

Mothering, November-December, 2000, p. 71.

Publishers Weekly, December 8, 2003, Growing Pains, p. 64.

School Library Journal, January, 2004, Karen Hoth, review of Dealing with the Stuff That Makes Life Tough: The Ten Things That Stress Girls out and How to Cope with Them, p. 156.


Book Finder Web site, http://www.bookfinder.us/ (October 21, 2004).

Daughters.com, http://www.daughters.com/ (January, 2005).

GOAL Online, http://www.goalonline.org/ (October 21, 2004).

Jill Zimmerman Rutledge Web site, http://www.jillzimmermanrutledge.com/ (October 21, 2004).

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