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traitor! - Idiot Control Now — LiveJournal
bees on pie, burning rubber tires
Speaking of being a traitor to Gen X, I just started reading Shelf Discovery: Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading.

And I think I must be the only girl my age who never got into Judy Blume. The only Blume book I read was Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, and I hated it. I feel like I read it at my paternal grandparents' house, so it must have belonged to my aunt, who was seven years older than me. I was probably ten or eleven.

I hated it. I hated any book like this, really. I liked my books with a certain... sterileness. I didn't like reading about bodily functions and puberty in such detail. It was gross. I didn't relate to this. I didn't talk to my friends or my parents about this. Why would I want to read about it?

In reading some of these other essays, a lot of these YA "classics" I never read, and I'm seeing a pattern. I wasn't into anything supernatural involving transdimensional travel or psychics, I wasn't into anything with a brutal look at some of the not-so-nice aspects of life. I didn't like such harsh reality regarding abuse, bullying, death, sex, addiction, and all that.

Maybe I missed out, not reading this stuff, choosing things that were nicey-nice and antiseptic instead. But reading was for fun, not to bum me out, especially when I was a kid. If I wanted real life... I had real life. Books were entertainment. Even the SVH books had a... a clean squareness about them. I was (was?) a square, and I liked my books square. I read Archie comics and the BSC because I liked the wholesomeness of them.

I do recognize a lot of the covers, though. And just the design of the covers which carried through all the different publishers, regardless of the authors. You see that Bantam or Dell Yearling logo, and it's like being at the school book fair again, allowance in hand and deciding which Beverly Cleary book to get. I did love me some Beverly Cleary.

And, okay, yes, I was totally the girl who wanted to be like Claudia Kincaid and run away to live in the Met, collecting change from the fountain to eat lunch at the Automat. And, yes, I still want to be Turtle Wexler when I grow up.

But I just never got Judy Blume. Or Madeleine L'Engle. Which makes me an oddball in my generation, apparently.

Current Mood: confused confused
Current Music: apology--the go-go's

6 pathetic excuses or justify your existence
serena_b From: serena_b Date: August 27th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think you're an oddball, people just like what they like. That was the only Judy Blume book I ever read too, and I didn't like it either. I read it but it left me feeling....blech. Kind of squemish. Especially the part when she was trying get her boobs to grow. Seriously...who does that?

Growing up I was heavy into BSC and then I read Sweet Valley Twins (which featured the younger versions of the girls). And then when I hit middle school I discovered fantasy and got into Narnia, Madeleine L'Engle, and David Eddings. I also got into supernatural stuff and read a lot of Lois Duncan and then Christopher Pike (my first year of highschool that's pretty much all I read).

Then there's other books that I probably should have read when I was younger but I didn't read them until high school (like The Secret Garden and A Little Princess) but I love them anyway.

I feel like I'm sort of a traitor too...at least to the fantasy genre and anyone that loves fantasy. Because I've read a lot of fantasy novels. But I've never read LotR. Which is like...the grandfather of the modern fantasy genre. I've tried. I started reading The Hobbit, which supposedly is the easiest one to get through, but....I still gave up.

mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 27th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yay, someone else who didn't like Margaret. It seems like if you're in your thirties, this is supposed to be THE defining book of your youth, and for me, it's just not.

Especially the part when she was trying get her boobs to grow. Seriously...who does that?

I know! There was another book, I think it was The Against Taffy Sinclair Club, that had the girls doing the same thing. I wasn't obsessed with growing boobs or finally being treated to a visit from Aunt Flo. This stuff sucked and was embarrassing. I didn't want it to happen, and I didn't treat it as the greatest achievement of my life. (I am, however, almost looking forward to menopause, and have been since I was thirteen.)

Oh, and speaking of hating Taffy Sinclair, neither was I obsessed with the development stages of my classmates or jealous of the girls who got there first. Really, I did not notice or care. This is a staple of YA fiction, though.

I never really was one for the fantasy/supernatural stuff. When I was in high school I'd read my dad's scifi books, because they were there and there were a lot of them, but after I while I realized I was more interested in the paper-thin romance subplots than any of the space/alien stuff, so I started reading Harlequins. Those were great because you could get them ten for a dollar at the thrift store.
serena_b From: serena_b Date: August 28th, 2010 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't obsessed with all the developmental stages of my life either. It was a pretty bad time. I didn't really know everything going on anyway because I missed most of sex ed in fifth grade because I was out sick that week. Ha. The first time I ever had my montly visitor my mother was having a nervous breakdown from stress at work and was basically medicated for an entire week after coming home from the hospital so...yeah. So...I don't really know why this is supposed to be such a magical time for girls, growing into a woman kind of sucks and then you have to deal with it for the next thirty or fourty odd years. I am so with you on the menopause thing, it can't come soon enough for me.

I'm kind of the opposite with books, I've always been more into fantasy and supernatural stuff. I always was kind of pretentious about it too because I thought I was above romance novels. Then I was at my cousin's house one night and I couldn't sleep and the only thing to do was read this book laying around and it was a trashy romance novel and I got sucked in. And I have a whole new respect for the genre ever since then and don't mind admitting that I'm hooked. My friend gave me a box of her old harlequin romances, there were prob. 150 books in there and I went through it in 2 months.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 28th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not a magical time at all. It sucks. They try to wrap it up all pretty as becoming a woman and all that, with the filmstrips and the pamphlets with pictures of flowers and butterflies on them. Who did they think they were kidding with that stuff? I took it home and hid it in a drawer.

Geez, and then my dad was the one to read me this picture book about how babies were made. Most mortifying moment of my life.

I ended up with a box of Harlequins, too. My Godmother gave them to me when I went to college. They were perfect for late night reading. They were simplistic and all the same, but they were good brain candy after studying or writing papers.
peacewish From: peacewish Date: August 28th, 2010 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't hate Margaret, but I can't say I loved it either. I think the most significant parts, to me, were her trials in trying to resolve her personal beliefs in God. A tricky project for someone of any age, let alone a twelve year-old girl. The physical stuff? Eh.

I'd forgotten that even was a Blume book, honestly. I remember her more for the Peter and Fudge books, which weren't much fun since Peter's life did nothing but suck from dawn to dusk thanks to his impossibly bratty brother. Like you, I spent more time in the BSC and SVT world, where people didn't loathe their siblings. And horse books. I gobbled up all the Black Stallion stories, though none of them were that great after the first one, and anything else horse-ish. There was a particular favorite A Horse Named Mr. Ragman that I must have read two dozen times.

I'm surprised you like Cleary, though. I never much cared for the Ramona stories, for the same reasons you talked about in your essay. Ramona's home life was too... not exactly dark, but dim. Her dad was always out of work and the family was just clinging to this side of the poverty line. Her idea of fancy cuisine was Whataburger. And the poor girl couldn't do anything without making a total disaster of it, whether it was trimming her own hair or experimenting in art forms. It was like she was cursed. With a name like Ramona, I don't think that's too far off the mark.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 28th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe I wasn't a very attentive young reader, but it never occurred to me that the Quimbys were poor. They were on a budget, sure, eating tongue and getting haircuts at the beauty academy instead of a salon, but I just thought they were sensible. My mom tells stories now about how excited I got when she'd make chicken fried steak when I was a kid, because it was my favorite, but we didn't have it very often because she couldn't afford it. It just doesn't occur to kids--or maybe just me--that this is anything out of the ordinary. It's just how life is.

I loved the Ramona books because she was so spirited and creative and curious about things. Even if something was a disaster like squirting out all the toothpaste or putting her doll in the oven, she did things. Part of being a kid is getting up to mischief. And they had a nice functional nuclear family. As a kid of divorce, I found them charmingly retro, that "simpler time" that probably never actually existed.

Plus it wasn't just the Ramona books--there were Henry and Ribsy, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Dear Mr. Henshaw, and my favorite, Fifteen. I still love Fifteen, again for being so charmingly retro. A teenaged girl who wears gloves on a date!
6 pathetic excuses or justify your existence