angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging is obviously a YA title. It’s also a very funny book. Louise Rennison must be trapped in adolescence to nail a mid-teen girl’s stream of consciousness so spot on. The girl whose consciousness we inhabit for the space of this novel is British and her idiom is public school Brit but written so clearly that you miss nothing if you happen to be an ignorant Colonist. So the humor is freely available and the protagonist, Georgia Nicolson, is a wit.
Georgia and her friends are preoccupied with various boys who do and don’t pay attention to them, expend a lot of effort to disrupt their classes and exasperate their teachers, visit a boy who gives free snogging lessons in his bedroom when his parents are not home, obsess over body parts that do not add up to perfect, attempt to subvert the unattractive uniform policy at their school, spy on the girlfriends of their oblivious heartthrobs and generally act like teenage girls in a losing battle with hormones, siblings, feral pets and irritating parents.
A big nose is cause for despair. A friend who might be seeing your hoped-for-against-all-odds boyfriend is an instant enemy. A professor explaining atoms with the help of a couple of billiard balls is ripe for ridicule. A rescue cat that might be part wild animal likes to play rough with the neighbor’s pet guinea pig. Boys’ hands, seemingly detached from their brains and all awareness, come to rest on key pieces of anatomy. Briefly and without comment. Hilarity rules practically all the time because anything might start a highly-contagious case of the giggles. Parties are fraught with peril because anyone might show up with or leave with anyone and you could get a spot on your chin or smile too broadly and make your nose look bigger or accidentally shave your eyebrows off while trying to pluck them in preparation for the gorgey bloke you could snag at the party.
Georgia survives somehow. Her parents are longsuffering, if not always clued-in. Her three-year-old sister is cute and only pees in Georgia’s bed occasionally. Her best friend shares her travails with two impossibly good-looking blokes in the same family. Her dad goes to New Zealand when he becomes redundant and she might have to move. Life is never dull. But it’s always ripe for a good one-liner and Georgia does not lack in the humor department.
A shout-out to my friend Carol who raved about Rennison’s books and told me I was missing a good laugh by not reading them. And to my uber-literate teen who told me to read them a couple of years ago when I bought her a few—and who lent me this one. angus (the feral cat), thongs (uncomfortable) and full-frontal snogging (mostly imagined) might take you back to the heady daily drama of navigating adolescence along with your fabby friends in a world of shirty swots, prats, tossers and gorgey porgy could-be-a-boyfriend boys. Funny enough even for naff grown-ups. Borrow it from your kid.
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, Book 1)
Louise Rennison | HarperTempest 1999