Gidget (Gidget series, #1)
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Gidget (Gidget series #1)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  924 ratings  ·  50 reviews
If all American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn, all American surf culture comes from Gidget, the ostensible diary of Kathy Kohner, a teensy, gutsy teenage girl who crashed the all-male scene at Malibu Beach north of L.A. in 1957 and earned, from Moondoggie and others, the nickname Gidget, which meant "Girl Midget." Her father, the German immigrant screenwriter Fred...more
Published 1963 by Penguin (first published October 1957)
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Jessica
So, this was fascinating. I grew up watching reruns of the Gidget TV show, starring Sally Field as the bubbly surfer girl. I also loved the movies, and the Frankie and Annette movies about surfing and beach parties. What I didn't realize was that it was a book that started it all (this book, obviously) and that the book was based on a real life girl!

Frederick Kühner was a Hollywood screenwriter whose daughter Kathy became obsessed with surfing at the age of fifteen. She started hanging out all d...more
Leo
Having seen and enjoyed the 1959 Sandra Dee film a year or two before reading the book I came to it expecting a fun, quick read with possibly some unintentional humor due to dated references/slang. While it is certainly fun and a term or two may have illicited a smile I was surprised by how modern this read was. The subject matter is a lot more adult than one would expect.
On the back of the book is a quote from the Hartford Courant that compares it to The Catcher in the Rye and while before re...more
Dayna
Aug 03, 2007 Dayna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that likes the old movies.
Shelves: books-i-own
I enjoyed this book. I read it because I like the movie by the same name ... the old one with Sandra Dee. It is not by any means a great work of literature ... it is a fun and easy read though.

It is actually based on the real-life experiences of the author's daughter. She was a real surfer-girl in a time when surfing was still a sport (or more like a hobby) of male beach bums. While being based on a real person it's a fictionalized account ... but it is believable without being philisophical. L...more
Donna Montgomery
Gidget has a great sense of voice and character, and I love the heroine's transformation from shy "girl midget" to confident surfer chick. Gidget's definitely got her share (and more) of guy trouble, but the focus of the story stays on what she wants and learns about herself. The book's final pages - especially the last two lines - are really refreshing, they make this one a pleasure to come back to again and again.

(This was previously posted as a summer reading suggestion on my blog.)
Holly Cara Price
THIS BOOK IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK. it's an incredibly written, fantastic journey into the inner mind of a teenage girl. It's full of love, beauty, sadness, angst, and awesomeness. Forget what came after, the franchise, the TV show, the movies, the perkiness, the crap. This is the real deal before it was spoiled by popularity. If you are now, or have ever been, a teenage girl...READ IT.
Bev
There is no way on earth that I would have voluntarily chosen to read this book, but it was the selection for my book club this month. It is the book on which the Gidget movies and TV series were based and is the story of real life Kathy Kohner (now Zuckerman), who lived in Malibu and at age 15 fell in with the surfers at Malibu beach. The book is written by her father (and it amazes me that a DAD could write this book) and uses what I assume is the vernacular of the beach set in the 1960s. Thou...more
Xyra
Jul 12, 2012 Xyra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who love the ocean, surfing, and historical fiction
I have been a Gidget fan for years and only now found out there was a book based on a real person's experiences to start it all. Now I am a bigger fan!
This is one of the very few books where I read the Introduction and Forward...usually if it is by another person (not the author) and not part of the story I skip this as I have found most to be dry literary criticisms. In this case, the intro was by the real Gidget, so I just had to read it! Boy, did I ever. And it was wonderful to hear the woman...more
Joe
Sep 11, 2012 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody interested in the 1950s
I'm amazed at how much I liked this book. The new edition's forward by Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, who was the real-life Gidget, puts the story in perspective.

Kathy Kohner was a petite (less than 5 feet tall) perky Jewish girl who became obsessed with surfing back in the days before the Beach Boys started singing about it, before most of America had even heard of the sport. Her actual photo was used on the original book cover and again on the new edition. In the novel, Gidget remains a petite brune...more
Andrea
The Little Bookworm

Franzie is a typical 16 year old girl. When she is one day rescued by a handsome surfer, Moondoggie, she decides she wants to learn how to surf. Made one of the gang by the local surfer boys who nickname her Gidget (girl-midget), she falls in love with Moondoggie and, most of all, with surfing.

Written in 1957, Gidget was written by Frederick Kohner for his daughter, Kathy. Based on her adventures with surfing, Gidget was the first book to deal with a girl learning to surf whic...more
Jodi
When I was a kid my sister and I used to watch the TV show “Gidget” every day after school. It was sandwiched between something like “The Flintstones” and “Bewitched” on TBS or one of those cable channels that shows two-decade old reruns.

Being Minnesota teens of the 80s I can only surmise that our adoration of the show was all due to the perky charm of Sally Field. We really loved the show and when my sister got Gidget – The Complete Series on DVD for Christmas, we dove in with gusto. It’s still...more
Linda
Reading"Gidget is taking a trip back in time. This delightful little book was a joy to read. Many people will remember the movie(s)or the song but may not have read the story of this young girl. It is worth the quick read. It is a bit of book candy, sweet, light and fun. Using this as a theme for local luncheon, surf boards, sand, shells and playfulness will be all be included. Growing up isn't always without bumps for Gidget the Southern California surfer girl, but it is a "great ride". Enjoy h...more
Jason Henderson
I read this book because I wanted to explore what it would be like to be part of the surf scene at the very start. This is a really enjoyable short novel (roughly 200 pages long) about a teenage girl named Franzie who talks the boys at Malibu circa 1956 into teaching her to surf. The gang on the beach are all intoxicatingly free-- Gidget (as they name her) tells us when you become one of the gang you have to swear off honest work, at least during the summer-- and sun-baked; underfed, too, so tha...more
Wordwizard
Good, fluffy, fun. A good sit-on-the-deck-in-the-sun read. I want to learn to surf now.

I kind of wish I had read this when I was fifteen. I would have found it fun, engaging, and not a little scandalous. Probably would have quite surprised me that my mom likes it so much. Gidget is impulsive and confident and independent, which is awesome, especially as she's based off a real person. However, she can be shockingly oblivious of the surfer guys' innuendos while at the same time being much more cur...more
Miriam
From a linguistic point of view this book was very interesting; it was fun to try to figure out what she was saying in some places. Kohner does a good job of capturing the slang of the time. I also felt that the surfing scenes were very well done and conveyed why people become some obsessed. As others have mentioned it definitely is racier than the movies and TV show, and I guess that it was bothered me about it. By modern standards it still isn't that bad, but I found the fact that a father wro...more
Kristin Bonacci
Bitchen book. I picked this up at a surf shop, it's the story of the real Gidget. Her father, a screenwriter, turned her diary into this novel in 1957. (My copy is autographed by Gidget herself who is now close to 70.) Gidget, meaning girl midget, discovered Moondoggie and The Big Kahuna and other surf bums in Malibu and spent the next three summers hanging out with them and learned to surf board ride. The tv shows came after and cleaned up Gidget quite a bit. Some say this book is what started...more
Lorna Collins
I had an original paperback of this with Sandra Dee on the cover. At some point I either lost it or loaned it. So I replaced it with the later version with Deborah Walley. We met Kathy Kohner Zuckerman a couple of weeks at a car show and bought the new version. It has lots of photos of Kathy and is still a fun red. Larry was a surfer of that era, and many of the stories could have been about his own experiences. It's definitely a period piece and has a niche audience. But for those old timers in...more
Princess
So I just finished reading this book and it is actually really cute. I had seen a couple of the Gidget movies and actually had a "beach party" in my college apartment loosely associated with Gidget.
It was a quick read and kind of fluffy. But it is an insight into the culture of surfing when it was still a relatively small community. Gidget is a force to be reckoned with: a girl who wants to surf no matter what and a girl who falls in love and is dealing with emotions that only a teenaged girl c...more
Judy
Quick read. The bitchen surf scene was still going strong in the summer of 1965 when this KS girl first saw the ocean and loved the surf, beach parties, dancing and falling in love Gidget style. Although I was much older than Gidget in the book, 15, (in real life we're about the same age) the atmosphere was very much like the book for me. The author got it right. It brought back clear memories of the young kids I spent that summer with...some into the lingo of the book more than others.
Susie
Sweet and nostalgic. Frederick Kohner based his book on the real life adventures of his daughter Kathy, nicknamed Gidget by the boys at the beach. The action takes place in Malibu during the late 50’s through the early 60’s just at the time surfing was becoming popular. Although Gidget in the movies and TV show is famous, I didn’t realize that she was a real person, as were her friends Moondoggie and the great Kahoona. It’s worth reading for the "bitchen" slang alone.
Jamie
I don't think it would be out of line to describe this as a west-coast girl version of Catcher in the Rye. Watching a Sandra Dee film and a Sally Field TV show would lead you to think that this book is pure bubblegum at it's core, but it's not.

I was skeptic at first, but only looking for a light easy read, so Gidget fit the bill. She surprised me by being both observant and charming.

This is one I'm adding to my collection.
Shelley
I enjoyed this! Modern in it's voice and intelligent in it's description of budding surf culture in the 1950's, it views coming-of-age themes through the eyes of a novice. I liked how Gidget is a fire character: naive, impulsive and athletic. Her unhampered enthusiasm and drive, along with snacks brought from home, enables her to hold her own with the surfer boys of Malibu beach.
A fun story of summer love and summer dreamin'.
Lee Anne
This isn't the light and fluffy notion that you have when you hear "Gidget"--it's really a rougher coming of age story. I won't go as far as to liken her to Holden Caulfield, as the cover blurb does, but this is a deeper book than you'd think. It's an interesting slice of life from the early, early years of California surf culture, and the guys are just slightly scary enough to keep this from being teen fluff.
Lynne
Great, quick summer read. Yes, there is a real Gidget, whose father tells her story after she allowed him access to the journal she wrote about her adventures at Malibu beach during the summer of 1957. Her voice comes through loud and clear and, though the book is more than 50 years old, the experiences and feelings of fifteen year old 'Franzie' are just as relevant today.
Irene
Who knew that Gidget was a real person and not just the TV show character? This book is fantastic, readable in a day, and I loved everything about it. Except for it being written by her dad, who listened in on her phone conversations to get material-- just a little creepy. It's easy to forget that though and just love the story.
Katie
Alright so I own the Gidget movies, therefor I am also a fan of the book which turned out to be very different from the movie. I love both though. Something about fun in the sun & a teenagers view of life turns this book into a good read.
Olivia
This book should be mandatory reading in school. It shows how fun and silly you can get with writing. It is written so much like a teenage girl it's hard to think it was done by an adult man. Highly recommend it.
Krista
I LOVE this book. It is so much better than the stupid movie. Such a good read. As far as literature, it is on par with the Catcher in the Rye...except without the angst and superiority complex of the author.
Claire Monson
Excellent read. I quickly got sucked into the story, so that made the already short book a really quick read. It's a sweet coming-of-age novel that got turned into a series of movies and a tv series in the 50s and 60s.
Liz
This was a fun little book about the original Gidget. The movies are based on this series. The narrator did remind me a bit of Holden in Catcher in the Rye like it said on the cover.
Caitlyn Thompson
Gidget has always been one of my favorite movies! Its great to finally read the books! To bad ibooks doesnt have the other ones! Guess I'll have to get online and find them!
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