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Calling Jenny Davidson . . .

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Now that you have some free time again, you’ll have to check out these books and tell us if they’re worth reading.

Claire Kirch reports:

Lizzie Skurnick Books launches in September with the release of Debutante Hill by Lois Duncan. The novel, which was originally published by Dodd, Mead, in 1958, has been out of print for about three decades.

The other books on the initial list, all reissues, are A Long Day in November by Ernest J. Gaines (originally published in 1971), Happy Endings Are All Alike by Sandra Scoppettone (1979), I’ll Love You When You’re More Like Me by M.E. Kerr (1977), Secret Lives by Berthe Amoss (1979), To All My Fans, With Love, From Sylvie by Ellen Conford (1982), and Me and Fat Glenda by Lila Perl (1972). . . .

Noting that many of the books of that era beloved by teen boys are still in print – such as Isaac Asimov’s novels and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – Skurnick pointed out that, in contrast, many of the books that were embraced by teen girls are not. . . .

Sounds like an excellent idea.

3 Comments

  1. Rahul says:

    The stereotypical things boys do haven’t changed as much as what girls were supposed to be doing in that era.

    • Right. I think this is worth elaboration.

      Children’s literature is often intended to present normative messages to its audience. If anything, this was even more true toward the middle part of the twentieth century in the US than now.

      While I’d never argue that such normative messages are not problematic for boys, I think it’s safe to say that such historically normative messages are notably more problematic for girls.

      And putting aside the “problematic” part; there’s simply the fact that, as you say, gender roles have changed much more dramatically for girls than for boys over this period and one of the attractions in (pop) literature, especially for children, is ready identification with protagonists. So I wouldn’t expect there to be a comparable market for 1970s girls’ books as for 1970s boys’ books.

      That’s assuming that the market is for children, and not for the adults who were once children who read these books. But, even then, because of these changing gender roles, I’d expect to find many of these beloved childhood books to have somewhat less appeal to women than the corresponding books do to men.

      Maybe. I don’t know how strong that effect would be. I’m more certain of the effect with respect to contemporary children.

  2. Andrew says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading these books. The best of 50s and 60s pulp fiction can be lots of fun, and I’m thinking it could be interesting to read a book of this sort that has no dead bodies in it.