After watching the movie adaptation of Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, I knew that I would have to add this book to my summer TBR. I had seen its fluorescent lime green spine on the shelves of my local public library’s YA section for years and had always been curious. You can probably imagine my excitement as I eagerly checked that very same copy out of the library this summer, doing what I should have done years ago.
I’ll talk about the specific context in which I read this book in an upcoming post, but for now let’s just say that I turned to Georgia Nicolson and her teenage angst hoping to be cheered up and distracted from my own blue feelings. And my plan absolutely worked, even better than I had anticipated. Reading about the intensity of Georgia and her friends as they analyzed and scrutinized every word boys said and every aspect of their reflections in the mirror made me feel better about my own dilemma. To them every mistake seemed like the end of the world, every conversation with a boy gone wrong amounted to absolute failure in their eyes. But even when they thought they would die of sheer embarrassment, life went on. I don’t miss those awkward, angsty teenage years, but I do think that looking back on them can teach us valuable lessons. The tumultuous, hilarious, often ridiculously dramatic diary entries of Georgia reminded my how stuck in our own heads we can get. As I flew through this book I felt like a friend was whispering in my ear, telling me that in a few years I would look back on my current dilemma with a sense of greater perspective. Life would and will go on no matter what drama I was dealing with. I might as well laugh a little about it in the meantime.
Did I enjoy this book more for its nostalgia and humor than for the story itself? Yes. Some of its offhand mentions of depression, suicide, and anorexia struck me as a bit uncalled for, especially since they weren’t accompanied by any sort of explanations. Suicide jokes aren’t funny. Anorexia isn’t a diet and should not be viewed as a “normal” phase in anyone’s life as it often is thought with teenage girls. The movie wasn’t as saturated in these topics, which I appreciated. I just wish these serious mental health issues weren’t treated as punch lines in this book. What message does that send to young readers? Certainly not a positive one.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but marvel at how well Rennison captured the angsty, intense, dramatic voice of a teenager. This is a stereotype, of course, but one that I think many of us have identified with at one point in our lives. Some of the most clever, hilarious moments were the abrupt contradictions in emotions or opinions. One diary entry would be negative and frustrated with a situation, and the very next one–often written just a few minutes later–would be overwhelmingly positive about that same situation, a sudden 180 degree flip. These abrupt changes reminded me of my own teenage years, when it seemed as though one good or bad event was all it took to alter my whole outlook that day. In the rather sad personal context that I read this book, I had the important realization that my life is less like that now. I’m trying more and more to let myself be the arbiter of my emotions instead of the world around me. I think (and hope) that this is partly what growing in maturity looks and feel like.
But enough of my personal ramblings in relation to this book. All in all, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging is a hilarious, cleverly written story of teenage drama that should simultaneously be taken with a grain of salt and appreciated for its witty charm. I would recommend it to anyone needing a good laugh or a reminder of how influential time and perspective can be. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this series!
What are your thoughts on this book? Would you recommend the rest of the series? Let me know in the comments section below!