REVIEW: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Audio CD, 5 disks (5 hours)

Published November 4th 2002 by BBC Audiobooks (first published June 1st 1999)
ISBN: 1855491893 (ISBN13: 9781855491892)
original title: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1)
literary awards: Printz Honor (2001)
2 stars overall / 5 stars audio narration

Goodreads Synopsis:
There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones’s Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it’s “Fabbity fab fab!”

My Thoughts:
I had almost finished a relatively detailed review of this book, and I lost it, so here’s the short version:

WHAT I LIKED:
The book was funny enough…I laughed out loud in a few places.
The title is provocative and funny…definitely one of the more creative titles I’ve seen.
The audio narrator was brilliant!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
Georgia is a shallow, self-absorbed, snobby, selfish, disrespectful, mean, rude, boy-crazy girl with (virtually) no redeeming qualities.

Georgia’s parents are (apparently) oblivious, and she gets away with murder. She is disrespectful in words & deeds, and a competent parent would take her down a peg or two…quickly.

Georgia seems to believe the world should revolve around her, and is somewhat astonished when it doesn’t.

Georgia is way too sex-crazed at 14 years old.

Georgia is a terrible literary example for adolescent girls, and the things she says & does are grossly inappropriate for kids of that age, male or female.

THE AUTHOR is an adult and should have better judgment about what is appropriate for early teen girls.

As a reader, I am loathe to support any type of literary censorship except that which I do for myself. However, as an involved parent, I will draw the line on books like this for my adolescent kids. When they’re older and better able to maturely evaluate material like this, they can read it, but not at age 14. These are not the values I want to instill in my children, nor do I want the good values the do have to be undermined by this type of literature (and I use that word VERY loosely).

I am glad I read it. Why? Because I want to make decisions about YA lit out of a position of knowledge rather rather than having knee-jerk reactions borne out of ignorance.

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REVIEW: Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Audio CD, 8 disks (9 hours)
Published 2002 by Borders (first published 1947)
ISBN: 1402523777 (ISBN13: 9781402523779)
original title: Het actherhuis
setting: Amsterdam, 1942 (Netherlands)

5 stars overall / 5 stars audio narration

Goodreads Synopsis:
The diary as Anne Frank wrote it. At last, in a new translation, this definitive edition contains entries about Anne’s burgeoning sexuality and confrontations with her mother that were cut from previous editions. Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, read by millions of people and translated into more than fifty-five languages. Doubleday, which published the first English translation of the diary in 1952, now offers a new translation that captures Anne’s youthful spirit and restores the original material omitted by Anne’s father, Otto — approximately thirty percent of the diary. The elder Frank excised details about Anne’s emerging sexuality, and about the often-stormy relations between Anne and her mother. Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation forces, hid in the back of an Amsterdam office building for two years. This is Anne’s record of that time. She was thirteen when the family went into the “Secret Annex,” and in these pages, she grows to be a young woman and proves to be an insightful observer of human nature as well. A timeless story discovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For youngreaders and adults, it continues to bring to life this young woman, who for a time survived the worst horrors the modern world had seen — and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal. 

My Thoughts:
Incredible story.  This should be on everyone’s “must read” list. 

 

REVIEW: The Adrian Mole Diaries by Sue Townsend

Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Harper Perennial (first published 1986)

ISBN: 0380730448 (ISBN13: 9780380730445)
original title:
The Complete Adrian Mole Diaries: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole
3 stars (or maybe 2.5 stars) 
Goodreads Synopsis:

Adrian Mole faces the same agonies that life sets before most adolescents: trouble s with girls, school, parents, and an uncaring world. The difference, though, between young Master Mole and his peers is that this British lad keeps a diary—an earnest chronicle of longing and disaster that has charmed more than five million readers since its two-volume initial publication. From teenaged Adrian’s anguished adoration of a lovely, mercurial schoolmate to his view of his parents’ constantly creaking  relationship to his heartfelt but hilarious attempts at cathartic verse, here is an outrageous triumph of deadpan—and deadly accurate—satire. ABBA, Princess Di’s wedding, street punks, Monty Python, the Falklands campaign . . . all the cultural pageantry of a keenly observed era marches past the unique perspective of Sue Townsend’s brilliant comic creation: A . Mole, the unforgettable lad whose self-absorption only gets funnier as his life becomes more desperate.

 My Thoughts:
OK, I did enjoy this book. There were lots of hilarious things about it, but over all, I got tired of it. Mostly, I got tired of what a self-absorbed, selfish, ridiculously naive, snobby, hypochondriacal, pain in the ass that Adrian was. I mean, he was completely without any sense, although he fancied himself the most sensible of anyone…which in the context of his family, he probably was. The shtick got old after a while, perhaps because it seemed like between the ages of 13 3/4 and 16 he didn’t seem to really wise up at all. I thought I might read more of these, considering the comedic factor, but I think I’m finished.