Wednesday, 14 May 2014

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

A young adult classic, product of the 90s and prototype for so many sassy teens coping with the hormonal obstacle course of adolescence. Young Bridget Jones or female Adrian Mole, child of hilariously inept parents and attempting to enter the state of graceful womanhood as unscathed as possible.

Georgia Nicholson is going back to school (snore) in a week. But she's just shaved off her eyebrows by accident and her cousin is hitting on her, which is both unexpected and disgusting. Plus her baby sister keeps pooing in her room and her pet cat Angus is spitting at her and trying to murder the poodle next door. Really inconvenient time to discover the Sex God in the greengorcer's that she's got to subtly and alluringly convince that she is the girl of his dreams.

We might not be the target audience any more, but any female human that went to school in the late 90s or early 00s will relate to this book, probably more than it would be appropriate to admit. The hair mascara, the Feng Shui, Zoe Ball, Big Breakfast, crop tops and PVC. All the things that you thought were forgotten for good. Getting through school with no phones and no Facebook, managing to survive anyway.

There are elements of this book that are universal to the secondary school: the constant running analysis and speculations about what goes on in the heads of the opposite sex- guessing and then second guessing; feeling crap about how you look when everyone around you looks so blonde or so thin, or so confident; being inseparable for your school best mate and falling out with them anyway; getting through boring assemblies and horrific lessons are all common to school-goers of any era. Worrying about the first big party, first proper boyfriend, first kiss...parents standing in the way of any of the above. Reading as an adult it reminds you how impatient teens are to grow up, and it's a bit sad to be able to see (from the learned perspective of 'the other side') just how daft that it. It makes you despair for your younger self, really and all the younger selves of everyone.

It's brilliantly funny, warm and easy to relate to in a real-life but crazy sort of way. The narrator is likable and her heart is in the right place, even if her brain has some catching up to do. Rennison really captures the agonising uncertainty of growing up- the drama, the conviction that you're the only person that such bad things have ever happened to in the history of the world and the quandaries of life when everything is happening for the first time for everyone, and so it really is the blind leading the blind. Her style has been copied often and never really beaten. Can you really recommend a book that is as popular as this one? People already know it's good! It certainly had me laughing throughout, would very much be enjoyed by readers of Georgia's age (14) and for anyone else that has ever been that age in the past. I'd love to see how she ended up in 2014. What became of Georgia Nicholson?

No comments:

Post a Comment