Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dyan Sheldon

Big fan of Sheldon's. Her Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America and the sequel I Conquer Britain were such fun, and of course, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is a perennial favorite. I think there was even a movie.
What I like best is that the stories are, at first glance, pink and fluffy, but conceal hidden depths. This is especially true of Planet Janet. At first, these read like a less-annoying Louise Rennison (note: annoying only to people older than dirt, like me), with Janet, a British girl, keeping a diary of her attempt to explore the Dark Phase of her life, which she envisions as being full not only of black clothes, but jazz, yoga, and flirtations with vegetarianism. There are some deeper issues--parents divorce and date-- but in general, this is about Janet and her attempts at navigating her universe.
These have not circulated well, probably due to the very dark covers, but when I said to my 8th grade daughter "These are a bit like Louise Rennison", she practically yanked it out of my hands and ran to her room with it. These will NOW circulate well.
What struck me most was how funny these were for me as a parent. I don't know how funny my daughter will find Janet's trip to the grocery store-- she goes on and on how it takes forever and how she is doing her mother's job and yet will not be thanked (she's buying vegetarian food for herself). Even the beginning of the first book is a sly dig at the self-absorbtion of teenagers:
"Talk about self-centered! Me! Me! Me! Me! ME! That's all anybody in this house cares about. I was trying to have a normal conversation over supper (the way people do in films, etc.), not some Great Intellectual Discussion (I know my family's limits, believe me), when I realized that no one was listening to me. I stopped dead right in the middle of explaining about what happened at lunch (which was v dramatic and emotionally stressful), and no one so much as glanced my way. "
Will be interested to see if my daughter feels vaguely insulted. For more info on the v fab author, visit her web site at:

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