Darkness had fallen. Winds were whipping around outside making
eerie sounds. (The hubby was at camp and Adam was out for the
evening) The chill of January was leaking into Chez Hathaway. Joey
cat was dancing from paw to paw waiting for a warm lap to occupy. I
picked up the book I was reading and it seemed too heavy for that
particular evening. I did not have the mental energy to understand
the existential angst of the wealthy. All I wanted to do was eat
candy, cuddle with Joey, and read something relatively light.
A couple of days before at the Orono Public Library I had found
something I'd been looking for ever since I'd become a fan on the
Diary of a Wimpy Kid volumes: a similar series with a female
protagonist. Just waiting to be shelved were four colorfully covered
volumes: Rachel Renee Russell's Dork Diaries--1, 4, 5, and 9.
Needless to say, they did not get put in their ordained spaces. They
came home with me for just such an occasion.
I was hooked from the first sentences: "Sometimes I wonder if
my mom is BRAIN DEAD. Then there are days when I know she is."
Nikki is starting eigth grade in a private school where most of
her classmates are affluent. She has a secret. Her father has gotten
her a scholarship because he provides professional services for the
school, services she hopes her peers won't learn about. Let's put it
this way. He's a pest exterminator with a five-foot-long plastic
roach on top of his van.
In Nikki's words, "How am I supposed to fit in at a snobby prep
school like Westchester Country Day? This place has a Starbucks in
Unfortunately Nikki's school's ultimate mean girl, MacKenzie,
has the locker next to hers. Maybe it's this proximity. Maybe it has
to do with their both liking the same boy, one who is somehow immune
to Mackenzie's charms. But it's out and out war in a place where the
rich girl seems to have all the advantages.
Back home Nikki's parents are clueless. Her slightly strange
little sister seems to show up at all the wrong places.
The four volumes I read would certainly satisfy a lot of middle
school and soon to be middle school girls.
I'm gonna be tracking down the other seven ones.
On a personal note, I am trying to live up to advice Nikki gets from
her grandmother: when challenges arise she can either be a chicken or
a champion. Two challenges are presenting themselves in my life.
First, if the Veazie School Committee chair has sold his home I am
interim chair in danger of becoming chair. I am a terrific vice
chair. I want to become chair about as much as most of you want to
swim with great white sharks.
Second, since I've almost finished writing my first book length
manuscript I started researching how to get a book published. Holy
Hannah! Right now about the only thing that keeps me from just
quitting is my Methodist mandate to not hide my talents under a bushel
A great big shout goes out to the kids, teachers, and staff of the
Veazie Community School whom I will do my best to serve, even of it
involves becoming (sigh) chair of school committee.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod