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Tagged by Ken and Dot.

1. What was the last book you read?

Just finished The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Again. Goodness knows why I chose to do that to myself in my hormonal state.

2. Recommend a book.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. A book with a beautiful soul.

3. Recommend a children’s book.

Besides all of them?

Let’s see… Goodnight Mr. Tom is a real favourite of mine (I remember the first time I read it. Perfect Husband, then just a close friend, walked into my apartment, handed me this book, and said “this is your new favourite book.” He had to marry me to regain partial ownership of it, because I never returned it to him). It’s a truly touching story about a bond between a man and an abused little boy who lands on his doorstep as a war guest in WWII. It’s rare to find a good book out there about a father-son type bond between strangers, and the characters in this book live. It’s for children aged 10 or so, I would say, as it does touch on the topic of sex and contains some rather graphic child abuse, but it does it in such a natural and beautiful and healing way that you come out feeling better for it.

4. My guilty pleasure is:

Re-reading old Babysitter’s Club books. Look, they have their moments, okay?

5. This one was rubbish:

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Seriously. This is a terrible book. Yeah, yeah, groundbreaking, and all that blah blah blah. Just because it deals with relatively taboo topics regarding feminine puberty does not excuse its complete uselessness as an actual book. I hated it as a kid, I hated it as a teenager, and I re-read it a couple years ago thinking that I would find patience and understanding now that I was older and wiser. But no. Being older and wiser just gave me insight on WHY I hate the book. Here are the reasons:

1. Nothing happens. She whines a lot about wanting to bleed from her vagina, spends a lot of time questioning the relative merits of Judaism vs Christianity, and worries about her family’s dynamics. There is no real climax or denouement. Nothing HAPPENS.

2. There is no character development. Besides Margaret actually physically developing to the point of menstruation, she undergoes no major change. She doesn’t end up a better person. She doesn’t come to have a deeper, more thorough understanding of how to celebrate both her Christian and Hebrew heritage. She just gets what she wants – puberty – and sighs with relief.

3. Margaret is a shallow little twit – the kind of person I would NEVER have been friends with. I used to hate girls who were so obsessed with hitting puberty that they were wishing their childhood away. I never understood why people would long for menstrual cramps or the social confusion that comes with becoming a teenager – half child, half adult, neither flesh nor fowl nor good red herring. Not only did her friends put such a value on menstruation that they would actually lie to each other about whether or not they had achieved this dubious honour, and not only did they make her question her relationship with God, leaving her confused, but they spent hours pumping their arms trying to make their boobs bigger. Seriously, who could like these people? Twenty years on they were probably getting breast implants and complaining about their ex-husbands’ trophy wives.

6. If you wrote a book, what would it be? (Adapt as desired if you are writing or have written a book.)

Well, there is the faction of my friends who want me to write a verbally abusive and no-nonsense guide to dog training (the title sprouts from a dream I had many years ago).

I have always wanted to write children’s books but for the last decade my once abundantly flowing fountain of ideas has turned into the Atacama Desert. I want to write, but the stories have disappeared.

Now, I should tag others, but  I won’t because I just tagged you guys for that other thing. Basically, if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged.

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