A book series I used to love as a teenager involved growing up, being a girl, dealing with boobs and g-thongs and boys and dancing and cats and baby sisters. It described terrible dates, horrific first-snog scenarios and unhappily-pregnant Siamese cats.
There were mid-life crisis-ridden parents, bad Frenglish euphemisms and silly walks. There was spying, stalking and prostitution (well, male prositution. For snogs.) There was beer and nights out and cool bands; dressing up like a French person, dressing up like a Stick Insect, dressing up as an olive...there was all of that usual teenage girl stuff.
In case you are beyond the Valley of the Confused and treading lightly in the Universe of the Huge Red Bottom, firstly, you should probably wash your hands, but secondly, I am talking about Louise Rennison's seminal book series featuring the heroine of every slightly odd teenager's dreams, Georgia Nicolson.
Georgia Nicholson explains in no small detail exactly what it's like to be a teenage girl. Like, right down to the cat dressed as tinkerbell and the baby sister pooing in your wardrobe. She's pretty good at school but she prefers messing about and being hilarious with moustaches and berets and is perpetually cught in a love triangle from book two onwards with a fellow called Dave the Laugh and a chap called The Sex God (or "Robbie" to his mother).
I was just doing "down dog" when Libby burst in and started playing the drums on my bottom, singing her latest favorite, "Baa, Baa, Bag Sheet," that well-known nursery rhyme. About a bag sheet that baas. "Baa, Baa, Bag Sheet" has replaced "Mary Had a Little Lard, Its Teats Was White Azno," which she used to love best.
Perhaps you're wondering why anybody would want to read such cringeworthy books. What about Judy Bloom? Surely she covered all this earlier in the 90s?
No. Judy Blume sucks.
And despite the odds, they AREN'T cringeworthy. Teenage girls like me (okay, like who I used to be about 8 years ago) don't want to read about awkward sex and periods. We want to hear about ace exchange students with silver trousers, mum's with doctor crushes, wild cats wearing curlers and eyelash extension mishaps. We/they want to hear about hockey violence and wearing black clothes so you have to pay more to get on the bus. Most importantly, we/they want to be laughing so hard it actually hurts, even when it's just a passage about a school assembly.
I'm not kidding, they are that funny. I re-read "It's Okay, I'm wearing really big knickers" recently and I cried laughing. I'm 24.
“I couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable, that's why. My face was like a frozen fish finger. All rigid and pale. (But obviously not with breadcrumbs on it.)”
The thing about Georgia was she had in-jokes with you. You knew what she thought, but not in a conspirational way. You were mates. You hung around with Radio Jas and Rosie and that lot and felt like you knew each other. That's important in young fiction. Jaqueline Wilson used to be able to do that too before she started recycling her other characters to fit Modern Issues.
The reason for this post is this: I want Louise Rennison to create some more Georgia Nicholson books but based now. I want to read about Georgia as a twenty-something. I want to know what she did at Uni and where she works and what's going on in her life now.
Make it happen, please.