...and I'm questioning whether I should call it that anymore, since the past few have diverted from that. Picture Book Tuesday is fine and dandy, but I think Thursdays have evolved into a higher level of thematic review.
When I was in the seventh grade at the purple-laden Van Buren Junior High School in manicured Kettering, Ohio, I had Mr. So and So for Science. I don't remember Mr. So and So's name, only that we had to draw cross-sections of fish and watched this movie (I can't recall the name either) where a man lived in Alaska and studied rats. He then ate the rats when he started to starve. Then he ran around nekkid after getting cabin fever. This was a different teacher then the one that made us watch Hoosiers every year in Health class.
My point being: In this 7th grade science class I realized I wasn't ugly. Now, don't feel all sorry for me. Most 7th grade girls feel ugly. When they realize they aren't is the potentially sad part. Luckily, I realized it somewhat early. I knew I was pretty awkward and spindly, but not ugly. I had what they call in Hollywood (or my 7th grade vision of Hollywood, which was the movie Fame, which was in New York, potential ...)
I remember the day like it was 16 years ago.
It was the day after I bought some cheap eyeliner and lined the top, the bottom, and the insides of my eyes with Wet and Wild Kohl Black... I even winged it at the ends a bit, which I had read in one of my sister's fancy fasion magazines was all the rage again (which as most of you know, I still do a lot of the time, even when it's not all the rage, I am forever trying to channel Audrey Hepburn on that one...) I recall sitting in my seat (I think I sat towards the middle of the room?) and someone telling me I looked pretty. I think I was tan. It must have been near the end of the school year...I remember feeling this rush of (power? calm? dementia?) anticipation of just possibly maybe could I really be pretty? And I'm certain I was such the sight of pure vogue in my (I'm sure heavily smudged) eyeliner and lack of glasses. Seventh grade was when I stopped wearing my glasses during school hours except when we watched a movie or I had to read the board. I have been very myopic my entire life, so this was challenging, and I had a constant headache. Not to mention with my astigmatism I can look a wee cockeyed when I don't wear contacts or glasses. So I'm SURE I was the HEIGHT of glamour. But for that one day I was a diva, a goddess, downright sortof sexy even. Nevermind my awful really short haircut hadn't grown out yet (Why? Because Ghost had come out earlier that school year and I had to have Demi's short haircut). Nevermind I started living up to my horrid nickname, "Paul Pfieffer" after my hair was shorn. That day I was the Sophia Loren of VBJHS.
But I seriously digress.
Coming of age books. They're important. They (along with all my Wrinkle in Times and other assorted Newberry winners and books about the Romanovs...) got me through some REALLY awkward times. Thank you Judy Blume.
Today's girls can also thank Pam Munoz Ryan. So here's the review: I just read Becoming Naomi Leon (no, not one of her more recent works, but her books check out really fast, so I grabbed what I could when I knew I was going to write about coming of age) and let me tell you I was engrossed from start to finish. Her characters rival the richness of E.L. Konigsburg, the depth of situation of Judy Blume, and the imagery of Sue Monk Kidd. If you have a little girl, or were a little girl at one point, I am officially sticking my seal of approval on her body of work. Give her or yourself a copy of Esperazna Rising and a stick of Wet and Wild Kohl Black Eye Liner.