Monday, November 3, 2014

Coming-Of-Age Classics (Girls, Part Two)

Titles:  Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
            The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig

Ratings:  0 stars out of 3 possible, "D/F"
               Not Recommended

Audience:  Teenage Girls ages 13 and up

Here are two more "classic coming-of-age-books" that also have limited utility.  (Incidently, Up a Road Slowly received the Newbery Medal and The Endless Steppe was nominated for a National Book Award.)

My own mother purchased these books for me when I was about 13 years old.  Mom rarely purchased any surprises for us kids, and being an eager reader, I dove right in.  I discovered two of the most boring, depressing books I had ever encountered!  (Just read the titles again!)  If you have an introverted, moody, melancholy teen or pre-teen, you will not encourage communication or cheerfulness with books of this ilk.

On the bookshelf for my own two girls right now (ages 13 and 10), you will find books like The Westing Game, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerKatie John and HeathcliffeHarriet the SpyThe Cat Ate My GymsuitWinter WheatWuthering HeightsJane Eyre, even A Farewell to Arms.  But you will not find Up a Road Slowly or The Endless Steppe.  I do not remember what happened to them.

If you have a daughter particularly drawn to books about girls and their relationships, also consider L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series.

Coming-of-Age Classics (Girls, Part One)

Titles:  Jacob Have I Loved (Katherine Paterson)
            Summer of My German Soldier (Bette Greene)

Ratings:  0 stars out of 3 possible, "D/F"
               Not Recommended

Audience:  Teenage Girls ages 15 and up

Both books have a number of things in common:  award winners (Newbery for Paterson, National Book Award finalist for Greene); state-side WWII setting; female protagonists dealing with adolescent emotions and dysfunctional families.  For me, both also fall into the category of Classics You Don't Have to Read.