Thursday, October 06, 2011

How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day: A True Story

Hodgman, Ann. How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day: A True Story.

Dear Ms. Hodgman,
Would you like to have lunch? My treat. I can tell you all about the time that my parents, fearful that my new teddy bear would meet the same fate as my old one (i.e. having to be slip-covered in beige double knit polyester in order to retain some semblance to a bear), got me not one but two nearly identical bears and would switch them periodically. But one had a chipped eye and the other didn't, making me think that I was imagining things.

Your memoir was an absolute delight to read. I especially liked your bird poem sequence, or rather, your comments about it (page 37): "But in most ways, they're EXTREMELY TERRIBLE FOR ANYONE OF ANY AGE... I was just loving the idea of myself as a Great Bird Poet. It makes me want to go back into the past and slap myself."

And that's the beauty of your entire book. Middle school students can remember the times before 6th grade when they did things they don't wish to remember. Reading about someone else's mishaps, however, is funny. And I intend to buy several copies of this for adult friends.

So please, Ms. Hodgman, come to lunch. As an appetizer, I will serve saltine crackers with peanut butter and Smarties, which is what my father inexplicably fed me when I would wake up in the middle of the night. We would sit at the Formica table and look out at the lawn, and the moon would make it look as if there were snow on the ground, even in July. We will plan the sequel to this, even if the embarrassment does cause the pages to burst into flames. Modern middle school students cannot imagine the sheer horror of an adolescence spent in micromini plaid polyester dresses and Far Side glasses, taking home ec, listening to antiques called records and talking to friends on a telephone that was permanently mounted on the kitchen wall.

Ms. Yingling


CoffeeChug said...

You have wanting to read this book. I must track this down. Thanks for a good post.

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