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Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: "Shelf Discovery"

Joy Press writes:

I never actually read "Flowers in the Attic" -- just the "dirty pages" clearly marked in the well-thumbed copy passed to every single girl at summer camp -- but Lizzie Skurnick did. In fact, she reread it, along with more than 60 other books she had devoured in her youth for a Jezebel column called Fine Lines, collected into this enjoyable book. As Skurnick points out in the intro to "Shelf Discovery," the 1960s-1980s were a transitional moment for young-adult lit, particularly for girls. Alongside the wholesome, winsome and plucky heroines of yore, an expanding range of female characters appeared in print: nerdy girls, Jewish girls, fat girls, slutty girls, girls with divorced parents, depressed girls and -- of course -- girls with ESP.

That last category might explain why I chose ESP and other supernatural subjects for my school science fair projects in grades 4, 5 and 6: too much time poring over Lois Duncan books like "A Gift of Magic" or "Stranger With My Face." Or perhaps it was the wonderful Meg Murry of "A Wrinkle in Time," the first of Madeleine L'Engle's protagonists to "flit across the boundaries of space and time,” as Skurnick puts it, "even more flummoxed by adolescence than they are by being whipsawed across the universe."

link: Are you there, God? It's me, childhood | Salon Arts & Entertainment


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