Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nerd Girls: Go Read Now

I have spent much of the afternoon reading "Fine Lines," a feature at Jezebel where the author reviews/reminisces about/analyzes the must-read novels for any chick bookworm growing up in the 80s. All afternoon I've been laughing out loud and going, "OMG, I totally thought that too!"

I love YA fiction generally, so this has been fantastic fun for me. Among my favorites as a child was The Girl with the Silver Eyes; one of my favorites still is Alanna: The First Adventure. Yes, I go buy every Tamora Pierce novel as it comes out, you wanna make something of it? (In fact, one of my friends who just finished a Ph.D. in children's lit went to an academic conference where Pierce was speaking and she's so super-cool she took my favorite book by Pierce (Squire, from the "Protector of the Small" series) and got it autographed for me. Tamora Pierce autographed it in purple ink, which is also super-cool.)

But one important question reading these Fine Lines raised for me, and for half the commentors on the post, and I expect for all my female readers of about my age, is: WHY THE HELL WERE OUR MOTHERS LETTING US READ V.C. ANDREWS AT AGE 12? That shit's DISTURBING. Of course nobody much over the age of 12 is interested in reading V.C. Andrews because it's absolute trash -- entertaining, fast-reading, titillating trash, but still trash, and of course adults have access to higher-quality trash. (And reading V.C. Andrews in junior high doesn't seem to have done me any lasting harm, other than a continuing dislike of codicils since they lead to children being locked up in attics and poisoning people with arsenic-topped doughnuts.)

Mr. McGee's comment upon my questioning why everyone reads V.C. Andrews at age 12 given its disturbing content was something to the effect of, "There's plenty of disturbing content in things children read, like the Iliad and the Odyssey."

Which makes me think I didn't adequately explain how V.C. Andrews works, because there's not really a universe in which V.C. Andrews should be mentioned in the same sentence as Homer. Aw, crap, now I went and did it too.

I'm slightly tempted to go read Flowers in the Attic now, but I think The Witch of Blackbird Pond is calling my name. (Did anyone else read that other colonial young adult novel, the one where she lives in this Puritan settlement and gets kidnapped by Indians and escapes to Quebec or somewhere and becomes a dressmaker and gets all interesting and lively and is going to marry this wealthy French-speaking guy and then her Puritan boyfriend shows up to take her home and turn her into a dull-ass, black-wearing, fun-hating Puritan, and in the most disappointing YA novel ending EVER, she totally goes with him? What was that book?)

(Oh, wait, the internet says it's Calico Captive and it's by Elizabeth George Spears too, which is probably why I thought of it. So don't read that one.)

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Oh, not surprising, but I read the whole "Flower's in the Attic" series in middle school, too, right before I read all the Stephen King novels. Right now I'm trying hard to think of one redeeming quality of those books and just can't... (Unlike my rationale with the "Captain Underpant's books-they draw little kids into reading and are funny, to boot! I know I would have been reading anyway, Oj, I know, they are a common bond between me and any other girl that was 12 in the 80's...)

PureDoxyk said...

I got lucky and somehow never fell into the V.C. Andrews pit. I think one of my friend loaned me one, and I showed it to my mom, and she rolled her eyes and said, "Dear, if you're going to read pornography, at least go get some GOOD pornography." So I did. ;)

I had to freak out over "The Girl with the Silver Eyes", though -- totally one of my favorites too, and I think this is the first mention of it that I've seen that wasn't made by me! Yay!!

(BTW, I'm here from the Consumerist; you finally impressed me to the point where I got staticked to your blog. Your comments on the Ford commercial were pure gold, and I <3 theologians. ;)

-PD

Eyebrows McGee said...

Thanks, puredoxyk. :)

I totally loved Girl with the Silver Eyes. Read it ALL THE TIME. LOL

Lola Takes Pictures said...

I'm seriously stuck on YA Fiction as well. I recently plowed through all of Stephanie Meyer's books and a few others that were begging to be read. Never did get into VC Andrews but did eat at Flowers in the Attic in Philly while I was there. Does that count? ;)

Anonymous said...

I am slightly older than you, Mrs. McGee and I seriously LOVE The Witch of Blackbird Pond. In fact, I just re-read it for the 50th time a couple of months ago. Agree with Lola, too, that Stephenie Meyer's books are fabulous.
VC Andrews gained popularity while I was in high school; does reading it at that age make it any less disturbing? (Brief pause for thought). No, I think not. The whole dancing audition scene with the blood clots . . . very very disturbing. --SusieQ

snazzzybird said...

I was a stay-at-home mom in my 20s when the first V. C. Andrews books started showing up on the book racks at the neighborhood IGA. The cover of "Flowers in the Attic" intrigued me; all those super-saturated reds y'know, and I made the impulse purchase. I hate to admit I read the whole series.

Junior-high girls were reading that stuff??? Mother of pearl!