Thursday, 28 September 2017

I'm leaving home // Georgia Nicolson: In Homage

I'm in a weird and nostalgic mood. Here is a small fact:

I am leaving this country on Monday and starting university on Tuesday.

Not starting a new series of books and wondering if I'll like it. Not buying a new pair of shoes. Not trying a new restaurant. No, I am going to England to start a completely new chapter of my life.

pretty accurate vid of me at all points this week. No but really.
So, what do you do when you have a really long reading list pressing down on you, unread pages flurrying like vengeful Furies?

Obviously, read Georgia Nicolson!


If you're not familiar with this series a) what are you doing with your life and b) here is what you need to know. Georgia lives somewhere in England. She does not ride dragons, start wars or turn out to be the heir to the throne, but she does get through the ages of fourteen and fifteen, and for that I pay her tribute. 

This is one of the most important series in my life and when I finished the tenth and final book last night I felt like I was burying part of my heart.

But before we reach the eyes-brimming-with-tears-type-love, I can also tell you that they're the funniest books I've ever read, which is why I'm linking up with Footnotes, for September's prompt: a quotation that makes you laugh.

It's quotation link up that Ashley and I host, and you should get involved! There's still *ahem* two days of this month left?? Those pointing out how ridiculously disorganised I am ... don't be rude.
Of course, I couldn't just pick a quotation that makes me laugh. My middle name is Go Big Or Go Home*, so I had to go for a ten-book series that makes me laugh!
*Actually it's Just Go Home And Read A Book but never mind

Ten Reasons You Should (Definitely) Read the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson

1. Frankly a beautiful coming-of-age story.

You know I am a sucker for reading (and writing) about first love! The rush of it. The opening your heart for the first time to an emotion far bigger than yourself. It knocks your little fourteen-year-old socks off. And I loved reading about Georgia's navigation of the World of Boys (what a confusing place. I need an all-female rescue party to come get me). I was fourteen when I started reading these books. And they have really been with me through thick and thin. I grew up between the pages of these ten novels.

2. They are definitely the funniest books ever. 

I do not say that lightly. But they make me laugh so much I have genuine fear I'll swallow my tongue.

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I mean, in the first book, Georgia goes to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

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The film is not the most accurate and the book is a million times better but it's still great fun to watch with pals.

3. PALS PALS PALS

So Georgia and her friends are called the Ace Gang and they really are an ace gang. Her best friend is Jas. I freaking love Jas. She has an annoying fringe and she loves owls and Georgia is actually really mean to her but they are still great great mates and always phone each other on the landline (this was the noughties, folks, no mobiles!) and survive school together. Generally the Ace Gang is amazing. This is them at breaktime:
Brr! Blimey O'Reilly's trousers, it's nippy noodles. 
We've buttoned our coats together like in the old days. We are quite literally a tent with six heads and sleeves.  
[Three minutes later] 
Snuggly buggly. We have to sort of thread the snacks up to our mouths through the collar bits.
They never stop eating Midget Gems and Cheesy Wotsits (two triumphs in the world of UK snacks). It's quite inspiring really.

You really are. Last night you told me you weren't as strong as I thought you were. You are right. You are stronger than I will probably ever know- j.a
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On another note, the last scene between Jas and Georgia in the last book nearly made me weep last night. I--

4. Rosie and Sven

Rosie is Georgia's other best friend and she is quite sensationally mad. She always carries a false beard around.
[in class] Rosie was making a little beard for her pencil case so she was a bit "busy" but she took the trouble to look up.
And her boyfriend is called Sven. His nationality is never exactly revealed as he is normally referred to as "from Viking-land". He is over six foot tall and often dresses all in silver. Rosie and Sven are planning their Viking Hornpipe Wedding.

You can't understand until you read them.


5. Stalag 14

... AKA Georgia's school. Their Physics and German teacher is called Herr Kamyer and his trousers are always too short. And then there is Miss Wilson, the English and RE teacher, who directs them in productions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth (remember it's an all-girls' school ... part of the uniform is a beret) and Elvis Attwood the caretaker, and sadistic Miss Stamp (Maths and PE), and really, it could not be better.

Latest - Liekeland
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6. The Nicolson Family

Mutti and Vati and Libby and Granddad and Uncle Eddie. Libby is three years old and very violent. She has a pet potato. A real potato. It is starting to go mouldy. Georgia's dad drives a three wheeled car called a Robin Reliant, which Georgia calls The Clownmobile.
At least I have the house to myself for a mope-a-thon. The Swiss Family Mad have roared off down the drive at three miles an hour. They'll be at the end of our street by tomorrow if they're lucky and have a following wind.
7. The Scales and Slang

Not fish scales, obviously, keep up. Notably the infamous Snogging Scale, the Losing It Scale and the Having the Hump Scale. All the books have a glossary to explain the slang. It is really pretty great.

8. These books actually probably birthed a lot of modern YA.

The first one was published in 1999! I was one year old! Twilight often gets heralded as the Dawn Of YA, but it wasn't published until 2005. So you and I owe a great debt to Ms Louise Rennison.

(It's cool, actually, I theorise that part of her point in the books is to encourage teenage girls to read. There is a beautiful bit in one where Georgia has to study Wuthering Heights, which she and her friends call Blithering Tights and do not want to read, but actually she gets v into it. And when I read Wuthering Heights, my edition had a foreword by Louise Rennison, talking about how she had just that experience when she was at school. Isn't that fun?)


9. They feature what is potentially my top OTP of life.

I have a fair few OTPs, folks, but I'm just saying!!!

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(And I love how realistic the boys are. They are boys! They act like boys! They're not a female author's imagined ideal of a boy, which can happen in YA.)

10. This series is an affirming, warm, hilarious rallying cry for all teenage girls.

Some may argue these books are not very feminist, because they (seem to) revolve around boyfriends and make-up and boyfriends and boys and boyfriends.
Gor blimey, Mum and her mates talk RUBBISH. I am glad that me and my mates are not so superficial. They are just talking about men and clothes and men. 
I can just dollydaydream about my boyfriend and what I will wear when I next see him.
And yet they're amazingly empowering. They don't take themselves too seriously, at all, and so really they don't need to be categorised. They're just a lovely look at being a teenage girl -- the trials and the wonderful things. Having best friends and learning about love and laughing, a lot.

Pinterest •♛T O R I ♛•
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- ̗̀ @lostwolfie ̖́-
[source] // adolosence, right?

✧ pinterest: positividy ✧
[source] // shout-out to my bezzie pal Rose who introduced me to these books, and my other bezzie pals Cat and Natasha, who are the Ace Gang.
Gosh, I'm feeling quite emotional! That last picture could refer to a lot of people and places. It could certainly refer to these books, which I plan to revisit many, many times. It could refer to Glasgow, and to the countryside south of the city where I live, with its fields and the lake where I swim. It could just refer to Scotland, which it breaks my heart to leave. And of course it's to all the friends I'm leaving behind. But I am excited about Oxford. I'm very excited to go! I'm just very sorry to leave.

But that's the thing, isn't it? Home is still home, and I'll be back. If I wasn't sad to be leaving, what would my home mean?

I would love to know which books you've grown up with; which books have shaped your young years the way Georgia Nicolson has shaped mine? I am feeling quite giddy on what EM Forster calls "the glorious bewilderment of youth". We shall not always be young, friends, but we are now. I am tonight. And I'll be young among the dreaming spires, the Oxford of which I'm dreamt. It will rise real around me, real stones, real dreams, in just a few days.

Until we meet again.

~***~

17 comments:

  1. I'm curious about the whole UK dynamic. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are all considered "countries"? Perhaps it's because they each have a distinct football team, hahaha. So how do you refer to the UK as a whole? As a nation?

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    1. Definitely about more than football teams! England and Scotland have always had a contentious relationship -- the 13th and 14th centuries saw the Scottish Wars of Independence, in which Edward I of England attempted to conquer Scotland. Eventually in 1603, a king called James VI was ruling Scotland, but he was also the heir to the English throne because Elizabeth I was childless, so under him the two countries were united. Northern Ireland became part of the Union in 1801 (though I admit I had to google that!). Wales is a bit different, it's more strongly linked to England; the Welsh government has a lot less power than the NI or Scottish. But the Union is not safe -- in 2014, we in Scotland had a referendum about whether we wanted to leave the UK. 48% voted to leave, 52% to stay, so we are still in ... for now. But our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, says we may have another independence referendum soon. So we'll see.

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    2. It's interesting. I don't know if there are any other nation-states in the world that consider themselves a union of countries. I guess in your case "region," "state," or "province" wouldn't quite work, so you have to go with "country." How powerful are the various governments, as opposed to the nation-state's Parliament and Prime Minister?

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  2. Congrats again about Oxford, Emily!

    When you say things like you were 1 in 1999, that definitely makes me feel old - I would have been 10 back then...

    I've still only read the first two books in this series and I loved them! By the way, the American editions of book 2 and 5 have different titles, #2 is called "On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God" instead of "It's OK, I'm Wearing My Really Big Knickers" and #5 is called "Away Laughing on a Fast Camel" instead of "And That's When It Fell Off In My Hand". The others are all the same though...wonder why those two were changed?

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    1. Thank you! Hahaha, sorry to make you feel old! I did know the American ones have different editions -- the publishers thought the British titles were too rude! XD (Georgia herself has something to say about that in the forewords/glossaries!)

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  3. I'm so excited for you Emily! Oxford, England.
    I have only been to England once, but I loved it. I haven't read this series, but it seems like something I would enjoy.
    <3

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    1. Thank you! Oxford is pretty great ... ! I didn't know you'd been to England! Where did you go? And yes you would DEFINITELY enjoy these books. I think. Who wouldn't, really.

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  4. Wow, off to Oxford! Wish you all the best!
    I love that snippet of the Ace Gang at breakfast. It doesn't sound all that different from my own group of friends at that age.

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  5. I looove Georgia Nicolson, I've read the books and she is such a brilliant, vibrant character and I adore her. I love what you say about "If I wasn't sad to be leaving, what would my home mean?", because it makes me feel a bit better too lmao. I started Aberystwyth university a few days back, and I feel like you'd appreciate this - all because it sounded cool in a book I'd read by Hayley Long. It's lovely though, I'm completely in love with it, how's uni for you? Ya gotta give us all the updates.

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    1. She's amazing! One of my faves! Can't wait to just reread them all ... too soon?!! I'm so happy you're enjoying yourself! I AM HAVING A GREAT TIME. I've posted a few pics and things <3

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  6. That's a big change! I'm wishing you the best in your move. When I moved from a tiny rural town to the suburbs that was big change for me, but I'm sure the experience will be wonderful for you!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. It really is! I'm loving it, though!

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  7. I never really grew up with this series... the first time I heard about this book was in my first year of secondary school and I got to read one of the books when I was 17.

    I... hated it. I really don't like the sort of humour in it and I don't like the main character and her made up words :( I just don't get it.

    I won't go on and on about it and be a hater, though. Especially since it's one of your favourite series.

    But congrats on your move!

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    1. I'm so sad they didn't click with you! :( but thank you for stopping by, and for the congrats! <3

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  8. Oh my goodness, congratulations! I'm so excited about you going to uni, you'll have so much fun and love it so much :)

    I've never really gotten into these books, not sure why. Probably because it had kissing in the title and I wasn't into that very much. Still aren't, but hey that's life. The series is probably too young for me now but I'm super glad you enjoyed them :)

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  9. So it's been a time. XD But I still exist.

    I've seen these around at the library, in used bookstores and such. But I've never picked one up? (They obviously have no dragons, perhaps that's why?) They sound hilarious though! They also sound like friendship stories. I love a good friendship story. Perhaps I'll try it one day when I need a good laugh. :)

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Thanks for commenting! :)