Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison
|Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison|
|Reviewer: Paul Harrop|
|Summary: The teenage alternative to Bridget Jones returns to regale us in her distinctive and hilarious style with tales of lust, loss, red-bottomosity, psychotic cats and wayward parents.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: February 2009|
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books|
The ninth instalment of Georgia Nicolson's 'confessions' finds our heroine mooning the summer holidays away, pining for her absent Italian stallion 'luuurve' god, falling out and back in again with her best friend Jas, nursing her injured feral cat Angus, and noting the apparent breakup of her parents' marriage.
Thus Louise Rennison, author of this hugely successful series of diary-style novels, captures the essence of what it is like to be a teenage girl - bored with school, obsessed, yet puzzled by boys, and alternately suicidal and hysterical.
At least I assume she captures it. I'm possibly not the best judge. As a middle-aged dad, I'm like Georgia's father, a vaguely ridiculous presence in the background. However, my 14 year old daughter loves these novels. Although she admits Georgia is perhaps not the best of role models, she does laugh out loud at Georgia's accounts of her doings (though I'm afraid I didn't - but I could see why she did). Which means, I assume, that the books do what they set out to do.
I think one of the keys to Rennison's success is what might be seen as one of her faults. She is deliberately free with chronology. Although the first book, Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging, covered a year, the subsequent books span only a few months each. Even so, Georgia would be well out of her teens by now had they been in real-time. In doing so she has, Simpsons-style, freed herself from total verisimilitude and given her work a timeless, and international, appeal.
Her teenagers, which, she admits are based on her own adolescence in the 1960s, exist in a strange anachronistic limbo, where no-one texts or uses mobile phones, spends hours on MSN or Facebook, or even watches much TV.
The distinctive slang adopted by Georgia and her mates is similarly quaint. I don't think many people under 40 are likely to say 'tickety-boo' but Georgia freely mixes up post-war and 1970s argot and her own neologisms. At first I found this irritating (why say 'suspicionosity' when you can say 'suspicion'?) But I did warm to Georgia's writing style in the end. It has charm and vigour. She also displays a degree of articulacy which might seem staid if it were not enlivened by her coinages. For example, I think 'nunga-nungas' is a splendid term for breasts, and am already making myself even more ludicrous by using it in conversation.
The barely-tolerated and half-registered doings of her parents are described with weary humour, and her affection and concern for Angus, and her toddler sister Libby give Georgia a caring and vulnerable side, without which her preoccupation with boys and snogging would soon pall.
For all these reasons, I am sure that the upcoming tenth and final novel in the series will be lamented and celebrated in equal measure by teenagers – and eternal teenagers – all over the world.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
For more diary-style teenage angst we can recommend My So-called Life: The Tragically Normal Diary of Rachel Riley by Joanna Nadin.
You can read more book reviews or buy Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison at Amazon.com.
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