Monday, January 5, 2009

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit

Author: Paula Danziger

First line: I hate my father. I hate school. I hate being fat.

Why you should read this book: Young teen Marcy Lewis struggles for comfort with herself and her own body against the pressure of stubborn, tyrannical, reactionary authority figures, until Ms. Finney, a radical English teacher, helps her come out of her shell and join the world as a human being, rather than the blimp she sees herself as. When Ms. Finney is fired, ostensibly for her refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but in reality for being a nonconformist who encourages kids to think for themselves, Marcy is surprised to find herself, along with one of the cutest guys in school, the ringleader for the protest action. Although dated at times in its discussion of feminism and hippies, this modern classic continues to speak to teens dealing with violence in the home, issues of personal acceptance, and the drive for fairness and equality for kids, who just want to be treated like human beings.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't rock the boat. You do what everybody else is doing.

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