When I was in the fifth grade my class got marched down to the library about once a month to check out books. I don’t remember how it started, but me and some of the girls in my class started pointing out to each other which books had kissing in them (a girl could only read Little Women so many times before she started to feel a little frustrated) and soon a kissing book network was formed. After the class settled down in the library and we were left to our perusing devices, me and a few girls would huddle together and share our recommendations. This proved to be a valuable resource. I was an avid reader, but in my preteen years I craved passion in print. Those burgeoning hormones needed literary catharsis.
I recently made it my mission to track down and reread some of these “kissing books,” but recalling titles and authors proved to be a little tougher than I thought it would be. Fortunately, I was able to find a few. Here is #4 on the list:
#4: My Darling, My Hamburger – Paul Zindel (1969)
Maggie and Liz are best friends. Maggie is uptight and a frump (as per Liz’s critique). Liz is more of the adventurous type. Liz and her longtime boyfriend Sean set Maggie up with Sean’s friend Dennis. Maggie and Dennis don’t take to each other, but this doesn’t stop Dennis from trying to put the moves on Maggie while they’re “parking” at the beach. Liz and Sean argue a lot about going “all the way.” Maggie deflects Dennis’ advances by taking her health teacher’s advice and suggests they go for a hamburger (Oh, Maggie).
As you can guess, most of the story revolves around Maggie being terrified of sex and Liz dancing around the issue with her boyfriend. Liz is kind of mean and critical of Maggie and Maggie whines and whines and whines. Sean and Liz constantly fight. Maggie and Dennis aren’t into each other, yet they date. A lot of notes are written and exchanged and many go unanswered (Actually now that I’m thinking of it, this book feels a lot like watching a classic episode of Beverly Hills 90210).
Liz and Sean break up after another one of their arguments. To make Sean jealous, Liz takes creepy Rod Gittens as her date to the dance ala Rizzo and “Crater Face” in Grease. Rod Gittens lives up to his creepiness and tries to date rape Liz. Liz and Sean make up and go all the way at the beach. Liz finds out she’s pregnant and thinks she’ll have to get an abortion. All the while Maggie is hyperventilating. Much to Liz’s surprise, Sean proposes. Everything’s looking up until Sean changes his mind and dumps abortion money on Liz’s lap. Creepy Rod Gittens drives Liz, with Maggie in tow, to get things “taken care of.” Liz almost dies. Then she drops off the radar. No amount of desperate note writing on Maggie’s part can get Liz to respond. Maggie graduates high school.
Moral of the story? If you have sex in high school like Liz did, you WILL get pregnant and have an abortion horror story experience and almost die and not graduate high school. If you’re uptight like Maggie, you will receive your high school diploma and have no friends.
Let me tell you, as a kid, this cautionary tale scared the crap out of me and it’s a miracle I’m not still a virgin to this very day. However, this book was the first time I ever saw the word “knockers” used in reference to someone’s breasts. So, thank you, Paul Zindel.
Now, if anybody can recall a book about a girl who is an albino(?) and near the end of the book dresses up as a cheerleader for a Halloween/costume party and puts on tanning make-up/lotion, a wig, and contacts and no one recognizes her and dudes hit on her and she goes home and cries in the bath tub, please report to me.
What are your nostalgia kissing book favorites?