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. And, oh boy, are they amazing. Here is #1 on the list:
#1: Deenie – Judy Blume (1973)
Deenie’s just your regular thirteen year old girl, destined for super model stardom, until she is diagnosed with scoliosis and sentenced to wear a big ol’ nasty back brace for the better part of her adolescence. This of course is a major bummer. Fortunately for Deenie, she has a (mostly) supportive family and two besties, Janet and Midge, who are eager to lend a sympathetic shoulder.
Wearing the back brace seems to be just what Deenie needs to teach her that looks aren’t everything. Soon she’s looking the kids who ride the “special” bus in the eye and making conversation with the crazy hunchback lady who runs the news stand near her bus stop. She even expands her inner circle to include Barbara from gym class. Barbara suffers from eczema (or “the creeping crud,” as Deenie calls it). Most of the kids are afraid to touch her, but once Deenie gets to know her a little better, she realizes Barb is a pretty cool chick.
Deenie’s love life doesn’t suffer too much. Buddy “Octopus Hands” Brader seems pretty gone on Deenie, back brace or no. They hold hands in a dark movie theater and party kiss a few times. There’s even the hint of some “over the sweater” action. Needless to say, this book was a favorite with me and my pals.
Stay tuned for Kissing Books: A Nostalgia Tour (Part 2) when I discuss “The Trouble With Soap” by Margery Cuyler.
What are your nostalgia kissing book favorites?