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review 2014-11-28 04:45
Review: Notes to Boys by Pamela Ribon
Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public - Pamela Ribon

Pamela Ribon has been showing up a lot in my recent life. First of all, she shows up with that horrible barbie book nonsense, bringing it all to life in her blog post. Then I see her name mentioned in a Smart Bitches post and think, "Oh! I recognize her! She is the one who wrote the hilarious thing on the sad barbie book". And finally, it came to a point when I looked at the book my friend from work had loaned me and realized it was her again. At that point I knew I was going to like this book. 


My friend had told me that this was their bookclub pick this month and most of the ladies had liked it though it took a bit to get into. I liked it from the beginning though did skim through some of the more cringe-worthy stories. 


Let me back up. This book is written on the concept that Pam saved all of the notes she wrote to boys as a teenager. They are just brimming with 15 year old angst and feeling. I would read them and cringe to myself on her behalf and then cringe again remembering some of the things I did as a teen. All this cringing would culminate in the grateful realization that I was no longer 15 and did not have to worry about overwhelming feels anymore.


My favorite parts of this book were not the notes themselves but the context and stories around them. Pam is a fantastic writer who drew me into her past quite easily. I want to read more of her books now that do no center around these notes. The notes were my least favorite part actually. I enjoyed them more toward the beginning, but as the book went on I had enough flashbacks thanks. 


Anyway, I enjoyed this book. Give it a shot if you are interested in a memoir centering around some of the more embarrassing aspects of teenage girlhood doused with a good dose of humor. 


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review 2014-02-12 10:55
Did you ever send notes to your High School crush?
Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public) - Pamela Ribon

Pamela Ribon did and kept copies of them all. Tiffany Turpin Johnson reviews a memoir of adolescent fervour for LitReactor.com




Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public)


Who wrote it:


Screenwriter and author Pamela Ribon, who already has several bestselling books to her name.


Plot in a box:


In a mostly funny memoir of her 1990s-era teens, Ribon recounts the hardships of being a pubescent writer with too much word vomit and no internet trash can.


Invent a new title for this book:


Wherefore Art Thou, Adolescence?


Read this if you liked:


Bossypants by Tina Fey


Meet the book's lead:


Little Pam is like any other thirteen-year-old girl...who writes two-hundred-page notes to boys. More than once.


Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:


Eden Sher from ABC's The Middle, if she dyed her hair blonde. She's so adorkably irritating, but you know she's going places, and you wanna go along.


Setting: would you want to live there?


Um, no. Let me rephrase that. HELL no. There's racists, bullies, bigots, book-burners, and boys who don't write back. And I thought my high school was hell!


What was your favorite sentence?

Life. It's pretty much bullshit. Brought to you by the number fifteen. 

The verdict:


There’s basically two main characters switching perspective throughout the memoir, although they’re ultimately the same person. Grown-up Ribon narrates us through her early ‘90s journey as Little Pam (LP), the wannabe writer who kept copies of the copious letters she sent to every teenaged boy unfortunate enough to look her way—and sometimes even to those who never did. Here and there we get sprinkles of (mostly bad) poetry and short stories. You can’t read too many chapters in one sitting, either because you feel too embarrassed at LP’s follies or too overwhelmed by flashbacks from your own adolescence. If you were ever a teenaged girl, at least.


Ribon’s a comedian at heart, so most of the book is funny, with just enough heaviness to remind you that you’re reading a memoir, not a Disney Channel script. There are some dark moments, although Ribon mostly glosses over them in favor of focusing on the more widespread embarrassments of adolescence. There were a couple places where this became an issue, because in our culture of rape and bullying, it’s no longer okay to play down the inflated feelings of angst that go along with the teen years, especially for young girls. But if you can get past the one suicide joke, in particular, she does get serious on the issue later on.


The letters are reported as-is, so there’s loads of distracting [sic]s in the way, and Ribon can’t help interjecting commentary every other sentence, leering at each of LP’s imperfections like a nitpicking mother. I remember being a teenaged girl struggling to be heard, and I just want to scream at Ribon, Let the girl speak already! But it’s just because Ribon’s made me see myself in LP, so that even while I’m annoyed by the girl I want to hug her and tell her everything will be okay, that I love Siamese Dream too, that I miss my K too, that we all find our Nice Boy one day and so will she.


So ultimately I enjoyed the book, and I rooted for LP even when I wanted to slap her. The last quarter of the book is the best, so hang around for the payoff.

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