Jan 03 2008
By THEBOSTONBACHELOR.COM / January 3, 2008
Disclaimer: These choices reflect the books I read growing up in the late 80s / early 90s. Thus, you’re not going to find any Harry Potter or Pokemon Adventure books on this list for obvious reasons. Second, I don’t consider Bill Watterson a young adult novelist. Otherwise, I’d have renamed this article “10 Random Calvin and Hobbes Books.”
10. Freckle Juice
I’ll be honest; I only included this book because it has the most memorable cover of any book from my childhood. Rumor has it that the original working title of this book was Irish Kid Holding Marker.
I’m sure a lot of you think this should be ranked higher. Unfortunately, James and the Giant Peach suffers from the same flaw that inhabits the film Full Metal Jacket: the first 1/3 is brilliant, but the remaining 2/3 just can’t measure up.
The Ramona Quimby series was the young adult novel version of the TV show Roseanne–minus the cheap sitcom humor. Ramona’s family life was bleak and blue-collar to the bone, and was for many of us an introduction to the bittersweet realities of life. By the way, am I the only one who always thought that the cover of Ramona Quimby, Age 8 was some real freaky shit?
This series would be ranked higher if it wasn’t for how impossible the mysteries were to solve; Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown must have owned the only DNA kit available in the 1950s. The IRS might want to do a little investigating on ol’ Leroy as well–”25 cents a day plus expenses” my ass.
Reading the Henry Huggins series is like watching a brilliant, non-animated, G Rated movie. A rare bird indeed.
If David Lynch ever wrote children’s short stories, you’d get Sideways Stories from Wayside School. So fucked, yet so good. See you on the 19th floor.
Remember how these books were always checked out at your school library? To this day, I still can’t view the illustration of the woman from the “The Dream” in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 3 without having nightmares.
A thousand ways to live, a thousand ways to die. PS: The Lost Jewels of Nabooti remains the best name ever chosen for a Choose Your Adventure title.
Was there any other author that understood teenage male angst and loneliness more than the late Robert Cormier?
The girl was heart-wrenchingly, impossibly beautiful. Desire weakened his stomach. A waterfall of blond hair splashed on her bare shoulders. He studied the photograph surreptitiously and then closed the magazine and put it back where he belonged, on the shelf. He glanced around to see if he’d been observed. The store owner positiviely prohibited the reading of magazines and a sign said NO BUY NO READ. But the owner was busy at the far end of the place.
Why did he always feel so guilty whenever he looked at Playboy and the other magazines? A lot of guys bought them, passed them around at school, hid them in the covers of notebooks, even resold them. He sometimes saw copies scattered on coffee tables in the homes of his friends. He had once bought a girlie magazine, paying for it with trembling fingers–a dollar and a quarter, his finances shot down in flames until his next allowance. And he didn’t know what to do with the damn thing once it was in his possession. Sneaking it home on the bus, hiding it in the bottom drawer of his room, he was terrified of the discovery. Finally tired of smuggling it into the bathroom for swift perusals, and weary of his defeat, and haunted by the fear that his mother would find the magazine, Jerry had sneaked it out of the house and dropped it into a catchbasin. He listened to it splash dismally below, bidding a wistful farewell to the squandered buck and a quarter. A longing filled him. Would a girl ever love him? The one devastating sorrow he carried within him was the fear that he would die before holding a girl’s breast in his hand.
And last but not least:
He thought of his mother and how drugged she was at the end, not recognizing anyone, neither Jerry nor his father. The exhilaration of the moment vanished and he sought it in vain, like seeking ecstasy’s memory an instant after jacking off and encountering only shame and guilt.
In the words of Fudge, “Eat it or wear it!”