Teen Doc TalkFirst novel, ‘Métis,’ mines ancestry

June 21st, 2011

June 09, 2011 | By Regan McMahon, Special to The Chronicle

San Francisco author Lynn Ponton knows that teenagers are prone to risky behavior. An adolescent psychiatrist and professor at UCSF, she has written two books on the subject: “The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do” and “The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls.”

But when Ponton wrote her first novel, “Métis: Mixed Blood Stories,” she focused on adolescents in her own family, digging into her roots among the Métis – descendants of Cree and Assiniboine Indian women who married French and Scottish men in Canada, formed a hybrid French Catholic and Indian culture and later fled Canada and intermarried with people in Wisconsin.

Ponton, who grew up in Wheaton, Ill., outside Chicago, speaking a combination of French, Métis and English, is related to the Métis leader Louis Riel. Little known in the United States, Riel is a folk hero in Canada. He fought for Métis rights, led two resistance movements against the Canadian government, fled to exile in Montana and ultimately was executed in Canada for treason in 1885.

In “Métis,” Ponton portrays four family members of different generations at age 16. The characters are based on her father, grandmother, daughter (actually a composite of her two daughters, one a filmmaker, one a doctor who just graduated from UCSF) and herself.
Read this San Francisco Chronicle article.

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Lynn Ponton, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

In addition to working as a professor of psychiatry at UCSF, I am a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, as well as the author of The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do and The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls. In my practice I work primarily with adolescents, focusing on risk behaviors such as sexual experimentation and eating disorders. I enjoy writing and have been published widely in scholarly journals, textbooks, newspapers, magazines, editorials, online and have been interviewed by numerous television and radio shows, magazines, and newspapers.

I am the mother of two young adult daughters and live in San Francisco. I am very interested in the future of young people throughout the world and believe that parenting children, adolescents, and young adults is the world’s greatest challenge. Through my work and writing, I hope to contribute knowledge and practical information to this vital area.

Download Lynn Ponton’s Curriculum Vitae (PDF)