I haven’t been very good about reviewing books here at Stuff Jen Says, other than a sentence here and there in one of my month-end summaries. I tell people about books I read. I even recommend them to friends. Somehow I don’t get around to actually writing out my thoughts after I finish reading a book. But-cept sometimes I do.
What I love about Pamela Ribon’s books is how they are simultaneously hysterical and heartbreaking. They’re like two, two, two books in one! Except they aren’t, because she manages to move between the two extremes—giving more time to the hilarious, thank goodness—in a way that feels completely normal.
In “Notes to Boys,” Ribon adult-narrates her teen dorkiness. Her notes to boys are exactly that: uncensored bits from her journals and first drafts of notes—some 200+ pages!—detailing her ascent into madness. And isn’t that how must of us entered our teens, mostly sane until the hormones hit? What she shares will make most readers cringe and nod and laugh along with her... and dig around in their parents’ attic for their old journals.
(That’s what I did anyway, and was disappointed to find that my teenage journals were far less interesting than Little Pam’s, though they were equally embarrassing.)
“Notes to Boys” is another Pamela Ribon hit. She has woven these excerpts from her journals into a story that, like her earlier books, is both realistic, relatable, and an absolute joy to read.
Inspired by Little Pam, I quoted bits from my 1985 journal a few days ago. Unfortunately, they’re amusing only to the people involved—“amusing” might be generous—and when I write up 1986’s blurbs it’ll probably be more of the same. Clearly, Little Pam was vastly superior to Little Jen—LP was writing for large audiences from the very beginning!
While I can’t eagerly recommend my walks down memory lane as entertaining reading for all, I can recommend Notes to Boys. Read it. So says I.