- Author: Ann Hodgman
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Company Pub date: 2011
- Intended for: Ages 8 to 12
- Perfect for: Anyone looking for a smart, funny memoir about childhood.
My only reading goal for the year is to read more non-fiction. I really enjoy a good true story, insightful advice, a new way to look at things, or information on a topic I don’t know much about. But I find that if I don’t seek non-fiction books out, they don’t end up on my reading list. So when I was at the library last week, noticed that I had Ann Hodgman’s book on my list, and saw that it was a memoir, I decided to pick it up.
I’ve had this book on my To Read list for about a year and I don’t remember exactly where I heard about it, but I’m glad I found out about it somehow because the book was a fabulous surprise.
The book covers Hodgman’s life from early childhood up until the end of sixth grade. You wouldn’t think that that short period of time would warrant a memoir, but the author has plenty of silly and outlandish experiences and thoughts, so the pages are absolutely filled up with adventures that are so funny and so well-written that you can’t help but be happy that this book was published.
It’s an endearing look at her early life, friends, family, and the events that helped shape who she is today. And what makes it so readable—which is important in a memoir about a person you probably don’t know much (or anything) about—is her voice. She’s blunt and self-deprecating and she’s able to see the hilarity in everyday situations and she’s able to laugh at herself and the situations she got herself into.
And why would young readers want to pick up such a book? Because it lets them know that they’re not alone in the world in doing some silly, stupid, ridiculous, embarrassing things (sometimes on a daily basis). Hodgman gives some great perspective in that you can do lots of stupid stuff, wear some non-so-awesome things, and say stuff you probably shouldn’t, and yet, you’ll still be okay and you’ll grow up and be perfectly fine. What’s extra nice for young readers are the lists she includes at the end of the book: “A Few Things Grown-ups Say That Are (I’m Sorry) True” (such as “Be Nice to Everyone”) and “A Few Things Grown-ups Say That Aren’t True” (such as “Kids Have It So Easy Compared with Adults”).
Her straightforward voice will grab you, her stories will make you laugh, and her takeaways will make you smile and stay with you.
I’m so, so glad I got around to reading this book and I recommend it very highly.
Does anyone have recommendations for a good memoir—either children’s or adult?