Yesterday I was sad to hear that Louise Rennison, one of my favorite authors, had died. Humor is one of my favorite genres both to read and to write, and I love finding funny female authors to serve as my role models.
(Not that funny male authors can’t be my role models – I mean, Bill Bryson is one of my biggest inspirations, so I clearly don’t limit myself by gender – but female humorists tend to mean more to me because they’re harder to find. A lot of people still don’t think women can be funny.)
So when I heard that she had passed away, I was sad, because she’s one of the funny authors I most want to emulate. However, I tried to look on the bright side, and decided to share what her books mean to me. I found her Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series several years ago and absolutely devoured them. THEY ARE THAT GOOD. They were recommended in The Ultimate Teen Book Guide which, as the source of many of my favorite books ever, is clearly AWESOME – I suggest that you find a copy so that you can find new favorites as well!
I keep a running list in my head of older book/series that I’d like to blog about someday, and I have in fact asked what you thought of this idea! It was over a year ago, but I received a lot of positive responses… and then proceeded to make very little progress with that idea, because that’s just how all of my blog ideas/features/whatever go. OH WELL. I’M WORKING ON IT NOW. SLOWLY BUT SURELY.
Today I’m going to tell you why you should read the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson books, Louise Rennison’s YA series about the misadventures of a British girl
and her loveable yet violent cat, Angus!
One thing that really surprised me when I read her obituary was that she was in her sixties! I didn’t know much about her other than where she was from, so I’d always assumed she was in her thirties or something because she just GETS IT, people. SHE GETS US.
A common problem I see when adults try to write realistic teenage characters is that they sound like, well, an adult trying to write in the voice of a teenager. That’s not to say that they can’t or won’t succeed – many do – but there are plenty who write horribly awkward YA novels where none of the teen characters sound at all realistic. (James Patterson, anyone? Yeah.)
I don’t have that problem when it comes to Louise Rennison. When I read her books, I forget about the differences between the author and the character(s), and that is a WONDERFUL feeling. Like I said before, she gets us. She gets the seemingly endless days of school, and the inside jokes with our friends, and acting irrationally towards our parents when they act irrationally towards us, and that feeling when you try to flirt with your crush and end up embarrassing yourself so much that you never want to venture out in public again.
2. Her books offer us a glimpse into the life of British teenagers
I NEED TO READ MORE BRITISH YA. Especially contemporary stuff! YA contemporaries aren’t my favorite, but I suspect that part of the problem has to do with how American they are? Whenever I read them – well, most of them, anyway – I’m always like, “Oh god, ANOTHER high school? Whyyyy.”
Reading about school doesn’t bore me in and of itself, but after a while reading about American high schools does get pretty boring. I loved finding out more about UK schools, even if their schedule and subjects still bewilder me at times. (Maths? Religious Education? Going to school in July?)
3. She has a terrific and WEIRD sense of humor
TBH, it’s the kind of humor that is really only funny at three in the morning… or if you’ve had too much sugar… or if you’re a teenager. (Or all three, I guess? I know I’ve been all three before. Curse those late nights spent doing homework. #collegelife.)
Anyway, she makes me laugh. Out loud. Rereading her books never fails to put a smile on my face. SHE IS THE ULTIMATE BAD MOOD KILLER.
4. On a similar note, her vocabulary is THE ACTUAL BEST
Some of it is just British slang or terms that we Americans don’t use. I’m looking at the glossary right now – yes, all of her books have one, because her publishers were worried that American audiences wouldn’t understand what was going on – and remembering how confused I was before I realized there even was a glossary.
And some of it is the idiosyncratic word concoctions that Georgia and her friends made up. I LOVE THEIR CONVERSATIONS. As the books progress, there are a lot of inside jokes and new words/phrases that made me giggle every time I saw them because it reminded me of some hilarious happening from an earlier book.
The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series is ten books long!* SO THE GLORIOUSNESS GOES ON AND ON AND ON. I would list them all here, except I think that would be too confusing, because several of them have different titles depending on which country they were published in – again, that UK/US difference is A THING. So if you want to know in which order the books are meant to be read, you can find it here.
Also. ALSOOOO. I was looking at the Goodreads page for the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson just now, and I realized that Rennison wrote a spinoff series starring Georgia’s younger cousin! I DIDN’T KNOW THIS BEFORE. WHY DIDN’T I KNOW THIS BEFORE?!
*Since there are ten books and I’m posting this on a Tuesday and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “ten books to read if you are in the mood for ____,” can I count this as a TTT post and say it’s about ten books that will make you laugh? I’M KIDDING. Mostly.
6. …and they’re compulsively readable!
They lend themselves to binge-reading, TBH – I binge-read them all one summer! I think at one point I read three or four of them in a day?! They really don’t take a lot of brain power to read, but that’s OK. Sometimes we need a break from the rest of the world. Sometimes we need something quick, lighthearted, and silly to read.
7. GIRL POWER
I love Georgia. I love her friends. I KIND OF WANT TO MEET THEM ALL. One of the posts I’m working on is a list of the books/movies/TV shows/songs about female friendship and F/F that make me feel better when I’m down, because reading, watching, or listening to that stuff never fails to cheer me up! I’M ALL ABOUT POSITIVE FEMALE FRIENDSHIP. AND ALSO ABOUT BEING REALLY, REALLY GAY TBH. (You can expect to see that post sometime within the next few months, I hope.)
Anywayyyy, the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson is on that list! (And on a list I’m writing about funny middle grade and YA novels with female protagonists!) OF COURSE IT IS. IT HAS TO BE. I love reading about Georgia’s friendships with other girls. I love watching those relationships grow and change. I love watching those GIRLS grow and change.
If you’ve read the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series: Talk to me. FANGIRL WITH ME. Who is your favorite character? What is your favorite book? And most importantly, what do you think of Angus the cat?! (I love him. I befriend all the cats. Even the fictional ones because I’m just that AWESOME.)
If you haven’t read the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, then… what are you even doing with your life?! READ THIS SERIES ASAP OR ELSE. I MEAN IT. (AND I ALSO PROMISE YOU’LL LOVE IT.)