It’s the last chapter of our Summer of Shelf Discovery Readalong and we’re on Chapter 10: “Panty Lines: I Can’t Believe They Let Us Read This.” Apologies to those who dislike swearing, but I think the chapter title is missing a word at the end and should be “I Can’t Believe They Let Us Read This Shit.”
Now, to be fair, much of what Lizzie Skurnick and friends do in Shelf Discovery is break down why many of the books we read as children not only WEREN’T shit, but are also good for adults, as several of us have noted of some of these books along the way like Jacob Have I Loved and I Am the Cheese.
Nonetheless, whether or not the books in Chapter 10 were/are shit, I think we can agree we read these because they were “dirty” or “naughty”:
My Sweet Audrina and Flowers in the Attic (et al) by VC Andrews
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel
Wifey by Judy Blume (which Forever was like the training-bra version of and probably where I learned about gonorrhea)
Domestic Arrangements by Norma Klein
IMO, Domestic Arrangements (which I read as a teen, and sticks in my memory as the heroine was described as having marmalade-colored hair, which, as a ginger myself, I found improbable, especially as she had dark auburn/chestnut colored hair on the cover) is sort of like the “3 of these things belong together, one of these things just doesn’t belong”). Because I don’t think Domestic Affairs was meant to shock and titillate, but I think the other 3 were. Discuss, please.
I wonder if the whole “I can’t believe they let us read this shit” aspect also was because, back then, parents were way less helicopter-y. And also, as Skurnick notes, now all teens need to do is open a Gossip Girl book (by author Cecily von Ziegesar, who is a guest author in this chapter, and who also used to work in the Sweet Valley High sweatshop, as this guy did) or turn on the TV, or go see a PG 13 movie.
In the interest of exploring this theory, I bought Gossip Girl to read, and then, of course, didn’t. In fact, I’m sure you will be shocked to learn, I bought a lot of books for this readalong that I didn’t read. Which is why I’m thinking of doing it again next year. Shelf Discovery is about the joy of re-reading (or, in the case of Go Ask Alice, the bewilderment and rage on re-reading.) so doesn’t it make sense to read along with it more than once? Or does it not make sense to anyone but me? Discuss.
I should put a lot of links in here, but just don’t have time. I’m flipping out about skin eruptions on my younger son. FLIPPING OUT.
Edited to add: Exterminator says he doesn’t think we have bed bugs. Yay! But we still don’t know what bit 6yo Guppy dozens of times. Boo. That’s on top of having a bullseye bite show up last week. Boo.
I also added lots of linky goodness.