Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Georgia Nicolson #1 -- Louise Rennison
I used to post about older books a lot more. Somewhere along the way, though, in an effort to keep up with the never-ending supply of review copies and new books at the library (and new books that I buy), that except for the rare special series, I've gotten away from that.
So, for the foreseeable future, I'm going to start covering older titles on Fridays.
I've been a huge fan of this series from day one, and it recently occurred to me that I've never actually posted about the very first book, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: SO HERE I AM, POSTING ABOUT MY LURRRVE FOR IT*. Just so you know, there will be lots of quotage in this post, as A) I find it impossible to pick this book up without sharing** and B) it's Georgia's voice that makes it so wonderfully funny.
Fourteen-year-old Georgia Nicolson has a whole list of problems:
(1) I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.
(2) It is on my nose.
(3) I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.
(4) In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberführer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic "teachers."
(5) I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.
(6) I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.
And that's all BEFORE she meets Robbie, AKA the Sex God.
If you step back and look at her critically, Georgia is pretty terrible. She's self-absorbed and vain; selfish, petty, and a mostly-awful friend. BUT. She's also a totally believable depiction of an extremely confused ("See you later?" What does that mean?), boy-crazy girl who's in that My Parents Are So Old And Uncool And Impossibly Dumb stage. This is her diary, where she can be as awful as she wants with no repercussions, and she's cheerfully raunchy and laugh-out-loud hilarious, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. She's also got a real gift for describing everyday embarrassments (being late to school, getting all red and sweaty running there, running into a hot boy) and making them seem EPIC and HORRIFIC and channelling her embarrassment so that you feel it, too. (Even as you're laughing.)
Also, despite her utter disinterest in school, she's a clever, witty girl! Her invented slang is a complete joy and totally contagious (I still use it on a daily basis), she's a reader (lots of Cosmo, yes, but she also mentions reading books on a regular basis), and she's prone to making terrible jokes along these lines:
The Peter started nuzzling my neck and I thought, Oh, we haven't done necks before, he's branching out a bit, and then I nearly choked to death trying not to laugh (up against a tree . . . branching out, do you get it?) . . . but I stopped myself. You have to keep reminding yourself about boys not liking a laugh.
As much as she tries to act with dignitosity and maturinosity, her exuberance and humor are both irrepressible, and as beastly as she can be to her parents, it's ALWAYS clear that she adores her (smelly) younger sister. While some of the cultural references are a bit dated—Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, payphones—fourteen years later, the emotional aspects of Georgia's trials and tribulations still ring true.
*Apologies for being so caps-happy lately, btdubs. I think spring is making me EVEN MORE textually enthusiastic than usual.
**Think I'm exaggerating? Just ask Josh. If given a test on these books, he'd totally ace it despite never actually reading one.
Book source: Borrowed from my library.