Jaya Catches Up

  1. You would think that after The Secret Garden, another Burnett book about a while child from India who is sent to England for some vague form of education would not be my jam.

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  2. She is the folk tale to Poppins’ myth. She is also chaotic, but amorally so. She is the careless chaos brought on by the intriguing narcissist. She is also one of the saddest characters I’ve ever read.

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  3. I have to admit, I have never been one to fantasize about living along in the woods. As a child I’d occasionally climb a tree and perch for a few hours, but ultimately I knew I’d never hack it, nor would I want to. Mosquitoes seem preternaturally attracted to me, I have bad circulation that makes my fingers and toes go cold easily, and I generally enjoy the company of people. Even though I’m usually…

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  4. Previous installments of Jaya Catches Up can be found here.

    This book was everywhere in my elementary school classrooms, and I think the reason I didn’t read it is that I knew I would never say the title correctly. If someone asked me what I was reading I would have announced “The Messed Up Files of Mrs. Franken E. Hossenfeffer” or some

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  5. Previous installments of Jaya Catches Up can be found here.

    There’s a certain wispiness to stories that exist entirely as metaphors. You can sense when you begin that the people don’t feel round, and you could knock over the scenery with a slight push. Everything has been built to serve you, and you’ll never find the sensation of stumbling on an existing world that so many stories provide. This is not a bad…

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  6. Previous installments of Jaya Catches Up can be found here. Did you read Mary Poppins as a kid? I (duh) didn’t, but I’m also not sure a lot of people in my generation have. To me, Mary Poppins was Julie Andrews slyly bringing fun and whimsy into the lives of a confused family until it’s clear they know how to have fun without her, “saving Mr. Banks” from becoming a grouchy old bonds…

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  7. When my friend gave me her copies of The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce, it came with a lot of hype. I was promised strong women and interesting takes on relationships and decently respectful treatment of what is basically Middle Eastern culture, especially since it was written in the 80s. I was promised quick but enjoyable reads, and when I opened to the first page I found this: I…

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  8. Raise your hand if you were a Horse Girl. It’s ok, this is a safe space. Honestly, I was one too. If you’re not familiar with a concept of the Horse Girl, here’s the breakdown: a Horse Girl is that girl in your 5th grade class who is obsessed with horses. Horse Girls are found most commonly between the ages of 6 and 16, though if left untreated, this condition can often continue into adulthood.

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  9. Previous installments of the series can be found here. Most recently: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. For most of my life, when I heard someone talk about Weetzie Bat, I assumed it was a book about an actual bat. I imagined something like an anthropomorphic fruit bat: small, cute, not something that’s going to want to suck your blood. Maybe this cute bat goes to high school? I think I spent a…

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  10. I never realized that a book could have a counterpart written by somebody else until I read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and realized it stands as a perfect response to To Kill A Mockingbird. Both are written by women, are narrated by young girls with tempers and moody older brothers. Both girls try to make sense of a difficult adult world that seems to make things more complicated and unfair than they need to…

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  11. The strangest thing about this project is realizing just how many books I didn’t read as a kid. Books that weren’t even on my radar. What on earth is My Friend Flicka? What the hell did I do as a child? Anyway, The Giver (Indiebound | Amazon) was definitely on my radar. That cover of the old man and the corner of a forest was on the shelves of every elementary school…

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  12. Nostalgia has a funny way of giving you a complex. It seems to inspire obsession in a concentrated way, further ostracizing those who weren’t in on the joke the first time around. This has happened to me a lot. I don’t like singing along to Disney movies as much as my friends are convinced I do. I think I watched about five episodes of the original Ren and Stimpy run. And the worst is that,…

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