Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

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100 Books by 40: GIRLS IN LOVE

Book: Girls In Love (Book 1)
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Published: 1997

I can only feel thankful that I found this book available for download from The Hamilton County Library after striking out at Amazon and living on the hold list for months to borrow the physical book. Had I been left with no choice but to skip this book or put my dollars against having it among the great books in my library, I would have skipped it, leaving my project technically unfinished.

This is the second book from this author in my list. Lackluster is a word that comes to mind. While the focus of the first book is around losing a close friend, it has enough romantic side stories that I left that read with a chapped ass. Based on my previous experience with this author and the the title, I knew the displeasure ahead.

My expectations were validated completely. Spoiler alert: thirteen-year-old girls have dramatic experiments in love while chafing under the totalitarian rule of their unreasonable parents. And shock of all shocks, insecure main character manages to mend her relationship with her parents and achieve the perfect middle school romance. WHY IS THIS IN A BEST 100 BOOKS LIST? BBC! GO HOME! YOU’RE DRUNK!!

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100 Books by 40: VICKY ANGEL

Book: Vicky Angel
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Published: 2000

Writing a children’s book about the grieving process must have been tough. Reading a children’s book about the grieving process was tough. It would be inaccurate to say that I enjoyed this book.

The main character has a troubled relationship with her parents. She also has a troubled relationship with her best friend who passes away early in the book. She stumbles through the grieving process with little support.

I recognize that this context is considerably more realistic that what’s often portrayed in our books, movies and TV shows. So, I see the need to paint a more relatable picture to young adults. But filling a need doesn’t necessarily equal enjoyable end product.

I don’t like children’s books. I often feel that the reader is being condescended to. This book was no exception. The only children’s author that I’ve read in this list that’s avoided condescending is Roald Dahl. Somehow he manages to deal with emotional challenges and ethical problems while fully inhabiting child-like imagination. Feel free to skip this book. But for God’s sake read Roald Dahl if you haven’t.

Check out my blogs on Roald Dahl’s books here:

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100 Books by 40: DOUBLE ACT

Book: Double Act
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Published: 1995

Sometimes people need to grow apart. That is difficult as an adult, but the twin children in this book are emotionally unequipped for this reality. Shit, I am emotionally unepuipped for this situation, and I am approaching forty.

The twins have some other obstacles in their path, like losing their mother and their dad’s subsequent second marriage. For a book aimed at chidren aged nine to thirteen, I think it does an adequate job of managing the big emotions inherent in the plot. The twins’ perspective of adult decisions resonates.

But I see no reason for an emotionally intact adult to read this book. It’s not particularly imaginative the way that Roald Dahl’s books are. It’s a short inoffensive read, but in a life of limited time and unlimited books to read this one doesn’t make my cut.