"With Pippi Longstocking, Lindgren paid tribute to and overcame the nineteenth century girl's book. Pippi's assertiveness, her red hair, freckles, and...more"With Pippi Longstocking, Lindgren paid tribute to and overcame the nineteenth century girl's book. Pippi's assertiveness, her red hair, freckles, and de facto orphanhood bear traces of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, one of Lindgren's favorite books during her own childhood, as mentioned in the previous chapter. But Pippi is Anne taken to the extreme. The name of Pippi's abode, for example, is a playful reference to Gronkulla, the name of Anne of Green Gables' home in the Swedish translation. Gronkulla, which means Green Hills, becomes Villekulla in Pippi Longstocking. Villervalla in Swedish means disorder or chaos, and chaos is exactly what Pippi intoduced into the girl's book. When Pippi Longstocking first appeared in Sweden in 1945, the book upset readers' expectations by inverting value patterns, role models, and the stereotypical uniformity and predictability of the traditional girl's book. Just as Pippi resolutely puts her horse on the porch of her house because "he'd be in the way in the kitchen, and he doesn't like the parlor," Lindgren turned a few things upside down and brought new life to that old, dilapidated house of the traditional book for girls."
Had not finished this when the library demanded it back - while there was much to like and I greatly enjoyed perusing, I felt as if the author had lef...moreHad not finished this when the library demanded it back - while there was much to like and I greatly enjoyed perusing, I felt as if the author had left things out although other than ignoring Laura E. Richards and, I think, Susan Coolidge, I have not yet had a moment to determine what else was neglected. She has some interesting criticism of Janet Lambert, some of which is valid, but some just annoyed me, and she barely mentions Beany Malone, notable for a heroine who is not only Catholic but forced to be frugal (in comparison to most series). There is a detailed description of Sweet Valley High and its offspring, and she acknowledges Pascal's debt to Rosamund DuJardin.(less)
Launched from her regular feature column “Fines Lines” for Jezebel.com, this spastically composed, frequently hilarious omnibus of meditations on favorite YA novels dwells mostly among the old-school titles from the late '60s to the early '80s much beloved by now grown-up ladies. This was the era, notes the bibliomaniacal Skurnick in her brief introduction, when books for young girls moved from being “wholesome and entertaining” (e.g., The Secret Garden and the Nancy Drew series) to dealing with real-life, painful issues affecting adolescence as depicted by Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle and Norma Klein. Skurnick groups her eruptive essays around themes, for example, books that feature a particularly memorable, fun or challenging narrator (e.g., Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy); girls “on the verge,” such as Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret or “danger girls” such as Duncan's Daughters of Eve; novels that deal with dying protagonists and other tragedies like child abuse (Willo Davis Roberts's Don't Hurt Laurie!); and, unavoidably, heroines gifted with a paranormal penchant, among other categories. Skurnick is particularly effective at spotlighting an undervalued classic (e.g., Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase) and offers titles featuring troubled boys as well. Her suggestions will prove superhelpful (not to mention wildly entertaining) for educators, librarians and parents. (Aug.)
I've been skimming this online, and it is interesting but does she miss the point with Betsy-Tacy by saying, "Books like this are about what you are,...moreI've been skimming this online, and it is interesting but does she miss the point with Betsy-Tacy by saying, "Books like this are about what you are, and how that relates to what everyone else is - they are not about what you do."
She describes Rosamond du Jardin's books as offering three guidelines: be beautiful, be manipulative, and be yourself. "It was hard to be yourself and be beautiful at the same time, and impossible to be yourself and also manipulative, but the contradictory nature of the rules was not acknowledged." Come on, Tobey Heydon has a great sense of humor as do most of du Jardin's heroines. Isn't that what makes these books so charming? And really Julia Ray is more manipulative than any du Jardin heroine!(less)