On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: A CLW review

on_the_bright_side_of_things_im_now_the_girlfriend_of_a_sex_godI’m basically sure I do like Louise Rennison’s books, but wow her titles are long! I couldn’t bring myself to add “a Chick Lit Wednesday review” at the end. Wow.

Okay, so On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (2001) (find it on Bookshop) picks up almost exactly where Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging left off (two days later to be specific). As Georgia continues her diary, she is very disillusioned by the prospect of going to visit her father in New Zealand on “the other (useless) side of the universe” instead of having time to spend (snogging) with Robbie–the Sex God.

Like the first book in this series, this one basically just follows a few months in Georgia’s life. Mayhem continues to follow Georgia as she and her friends devise new Beret-wearing methods at school among other kinds of mischief. This includes some chaos on the hockey field (the first book featured a rather disastrous tennis match). Rennison writes Georgia as a bit of a spaz–always thinking about herself and her appearance, heaping scorn upon Robbie’s more studious ex–so it’s nice to see her being athletic without really trying and without any ulterior motive.

Meanwhile, Georgia also has to figure out how to get back in Robbie’s good graces when he once again decides that she is too young for him. Part of her plan? Maturiosity and Glaceriosity. Yes.

Basically anything funny that came up in the first book has been revisited in this one. A personal favorite: Georgia’s continued bewilderment when faced with the phrase “see you later.” (Does it mean “see you later” or something else? No one knows.) There are a lot of developments in this volume in terms of inter-character relations (Georgia, her friends, Robbie, and so on). But there isn’t as much intra-character development. Again. By the end of the book, Georgia does have some new quandaries to think about (is it a problem that the SG doesn’t make her laugh for instance), but it’s still too early to tell if her new introspection will lead to a bit of enlightenment.

By the time I read this book (in a day), I was basically over my qualms about liking Georgia but feeling like I shouldn’t. The plots are simple and fun, Georgia makes me laugh. It’s fine.

That said, I have noticed that, like a few other laugh-out-loud funny books for teens, this one gets a lot of the humor from Georgia having kind of low self-esteem. A running theme in both books is Georgia bemoaning her ugliness as a result of her large nose. It doesn’t really impact the story, or send any message about beauty ideals or anything, I just wish Georgia could be a little more sure of herself. All of her friends (and snogging partners) seem to indicate that people think Georgia is pretty cool. I wish that she would figure that out as well. Maybe in the next book . . .

Possible Pairings: Boys Don’t Knit by T. S. Easton, Ghost Huntress by Marley Gibson, The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow, Alice, I Think by Susany Juby, Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, My Big Nose and Other (Natural) Disasters by Sydney Salter

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: A Chick Lit Wednesday review

There are six things very wrong with fourteen-year-old Georgia Nicolson’s life at the beginning of her first diary volume Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (2000) by Louise Rennison (find it on Bookshop):

(1) I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

(2) It is on my nose.

(3) I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

(4) In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic “teachers.”

(5) I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

(6) I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

My friend “Barbie” is insanely fond of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson series, starting with Rennison’s debut novel Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging which was selected as a Michael L. Printz Honor Book in 2001. Having some free time after graduation, I decided to give the series a try. I read the first two books in as many days. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging is quite funny and I did like it, but the more I read the more I felt like I shouldn’t like it.

Georgia is not always the nicest person. She can be self-centered and rude. But she is so funny that it’s hard to be angry about it. As Georgia tries to figure out exactly what growing up means (aside from landing the Sex God), she often finds herself in some awkward situations (see the mention of a stuffed olive above). Although a lot of the book is outlandish in its humor, Rennison’s anecdotes are generally spot on in terms of authenticity. I have the old pictures with uneven eyebrows to prove it.

Part of my problem with this novel is that I couldn’t gauge if the voice was accurate. To me, Georgia’s diary reads more like that of a sixteen-year-old but after consulting with “Julie” it seems that Georgia’s misadventures could be accurate. Not having been the same kind of fourteen-year-old as Georgia, I needed some outside confirmation.

It also bothered me (though not enough to stop reading the series) that Georgia largely seemed exactly the same at the end of the novel as she did at the beginning. It doesn’t make the book better or worse, but it was something I noticed. If you want to see a similar book with more character evolution, check out Alice, I Think by Susan Juby another laugh-out-loud funny diary book with a teen narrator albeit a Canadian one this time.

All that aside, this book is hilarious. I’m usually hesitant of diary-style books but it works well here. Rennison uses the technique to amusing effect by including the time of certain entries to illustrate Georgia’s often rash temperament. Part of me wants to take Georgia under my wing and save her from herself, but the rest of me knows that if I did that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the rest of Georgia’s books. Oh the moral dilemma . . .

For some added fun, be sure to check out Georgia’s glossary of English terms at the end of the book.

Possible Pairings: Boys Don’t Knit by T. S. Easton, Ghost Huntress by Marley Gibson, The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow, Alice, I Think by Susany Juby, Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, My Big Nose and Other (Natural) Disasters by Sydney Salter