The bad girl book club: My favorite inappropriate YA reads from my own misspent youth

When I was a kid, young adult literature wasn’t called YA. It was called Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. Thank god for Judy Blume — I’m pretty sure I read everything she wrote (and, thanks to Deenie, lived in fear of failing the scoliosis test and spending high school in a back brace).
YABut since YA wasn’t a thing, with all the marketing and shiny, neon-colored covers that go along with it, I also read a lot of stuff that might or might not have been written with teens in mind — and certainly hadn’t been vetted (unless you count the town librarian’s withering glare at the check-out desk).

So here are four inappropriate books that I read, and maybe shouldn’t have read, and loved even though they really confused me.

1) Go Ask Alice: The first awesome thing about this novel was that it was supposedly anonymously written. And supposedly “a real diary,” as the book’s cover boasted. This was before Oprah old off James Frey for his fake memoir. Continue reading

It’s all cosmic theater: Tom Robbins in WNC

It’s all cosmic theater: Tom Robbins in WNC

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According to author Tom Robbins, he didn’t hit his stride as a novelist until Jitterbug Perfume. It was his fourth novel, published in 1984; Robbins was 52. Not that there’s a right age to hit one’s stride as writer; nor do writers (unlike many musicians and actors) age out. But, if there was a takeaway from Robbins’ talk at Appalachian State University in Boone last week (just before his Asheville appearance at Malaprop’s on Sept. 13), it’s that he was never much concerned with convention.

“My so-called literary career,” he said to the sold-out crowd at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. “I prefer to think of it as a careen.” To illustrate that point, Robbins — who was born in Blowing Rock — read a selection of stories from his new memoir, Tibetan Peach Pie. Anecdotes included an attempted bank robbery (he was an elementary school student at the time) and early forays into writing. Continue reading