I've been meaning to read this book for years now. I picked it up for its title, and because it's very British, and for the shiny "Printz Honor Book" sticker on the front of it, and then I somehow neglected to actually open it. In fact, the paperback copy I bought a few years back has been in the TBR (to be read) pile in my bedroom for at least two years now. M read it, of course, then laughed her way through the remainder of the series. I mean that quite literally - there were points in time when you could hear her laughter ringing throughout the entire house, and she'd stumble into whatever room I was in, half doubled-over and clutching her side, to try to read me some passage or another before succumbing to the hiccups.
So yesterday, I actually opened the book and read it, and I have two sets of reactions. The mother in me is all "What is a 14-year old girl doing going after a boy who is nearly 18?" and the teen reader in me is all "This book is completely and totally brilliant and I only wish I'd either written it or at least read it a heck of a lot sooner!"
The mother in me is about to shut up, by the way, after noting that the almost-18-year old boy is not, in fact, actually involved with Georgia "Georgie" Nicholson for the majority of the book, nor do they go beyond snogging. The mother in me is also reminded of that time when she was, like, 13 and on a family vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey and totally made out with some guy who ran the merry-go-round and was, I believe, actually 18. And was well-behaved enough to remove his hands from certain parts of my person when I decided things had gone Far Enough, thank you very much. On the plus side, I got lots and lots of free rides on the merry-go-round and my mother never found out about it (unless she is suddenly reading my blog, in which case it's a bit late for her to get upset about it, don't you think?) I'm pretty positive that only my cousin Martha knew about that particular event, come to think of it. And now all of you know as well, a mere thirty-plus years later. But I digress.
The teen reader in me adored the story of Georgie, who attends an all-girls' school and is in the process of coming into her own. She's figuring out where she fits in with her female friends, working to navigate a new sort of relationship with her parents, generally loving her sister and her crazy cat, Angus (he of the title), learning how to kiss (from a boy who gives timed kissing lessons in his room after school - I kid you not) and - oh yeah - generally chasing after Robbie, the Sex God, who works in his parents' shop and plays in a band called The Stiff Dylans.
Finally, the Anglophile in me appreciated the many Britishisms in the book, the obscure ones of which are explained using a handy dandy (and hilarious) glossary at the back of the book. Here's are two sample entries for you:
prat A prat is a gormless oik. You make a prat of yourself by mistakenly putting both legs down one knicker leg or by playing air guitar at pop concerts.
tosser A special kind of prat. The other way of putting this is "wanker" or "monkey spanker."
Georgia has a baby sister named Libby, who is (I believe) three, and who isn't consistently potty-trained. You should know that knickers are underpants before I share the following quote, which had me laughing really, really hard last night:
friday june 4th
the pajama party sleepover
Mum will not get going. Why is she so slow? Libby still has not got any knickers on. I offered to put them on her and Mum said, "Oh, would you, love? Thanks. I cannot find my eyebrow tweezers anywhere. You haven't seen them, have you?"
(I remembered they were in my pencil case.) "Er . . . no, but I think I saw Libby with them."
"Damn, they could be anywhere."
Libby decided that "knickers on" was a game, and I chased her around for ages before I could get hold of her. Then when I was putting her knick-knacks on she was stroking my hair, going, "Prrr prr. Nice pussycat. Do you want some milk, tosser?" I think she thinks "tosser" is like a name.
I still find it very funny. It was even funnier as part of a longer reading, since the book is cumulatively funnier, in the way that things that are funny tend to be funnier in sequence. You know how if you're already laughing and something else funny comes along, it's even funnier? Yeah, the whole book is like that.
And now, I look forward to reading the rest of the series.