An Excellent Thing That Did, in Fact, Happen

Diana has been after me to read this:


But first I was on a PD James kick, and then I was reading something else, and then I started it because someone had helpfully left it in the bathroom but then we somehow forgot to bring it on vacation, and so it went. She kept rereading it. I didn't read it. 

And then Diana started 8th grade, and I finished what I was reading, and the fog lifted and everything came together—I was sitting on the couch zoning out like a master, when she showed up with it in her hand and said, "Mommy, why don't you read this and then we can talk about it?"

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world. 

OK, I will dab the tears from my eyes and show you just how wonderful the world can be sometimes. Because you can be stuck in your workaday life, and then you find out your 13-year-old has been busily reading something that has THIS in it:



(A PERKY MOM carrying a laundry basket enters her TEEN DAUGHTER'S bedroom. The girl lies on the bed, upset. The mother's face registers concern. She sits beside her daughter.)

What's the matter, honey? Why aren't you ready for school?

I'm not going to school today, Mom!

Not go to school? But you love school. You're a high achiever who fulfills my narcissistic need to outshine the other mothers on the block.

I know, Mom, but I can't go! Not with this unsightly lip hair.

(Smiling smugly, MOM pulls a large white plastic vat from her laundry basket.)
Oh, honey. You just need some of this. New Lady 'Stache Off with triple beauty action.™

Lady 'Stache Off. Isn't that what you use to sanitize our toilets?

(laughing) It does both! And now, with new Lady 'Stache Off's triple beauty action™, you can moisturize and self-tan while you rip that unsightly hair from every pore.

(Reprinted without permission but it's just an excerpt and I couldn't find an email address for her and I hope she doesn't mind, I am sorry, Libba Bray! You should all go buy multiple copies of the book now.)

OK, that is just one page. ONE PAGE. It goes on from there. And can I tell you, the thought that my 13-year-old is getting to read (and reread, and reread) this, as just one grain of salt in an ocean of bullshit that wafts around her and every other teenage girl (and all of you just go ahead and do your best to look away from that both tortured and mixed metaphor)—well, it makes me happy. So happy!


UPDATE: So I posted this before I finished the whole book, and in terms of age and reading content and all, there's a lot of, uh, sex. Sex in which girls are happy and all. But still, may play some havoc when you discuss it with your kid. Just so you know.

7 thoughts on “An Excellent Thing That Did, in Fact, Happen

  1. YES! Because they will be funny! And have a sense of humor about the crazy way in which the world is telling them how to be! They will be satirical! THEY WILL HAVE IRONIC DISTANCE ON THE WORLD AND THEIR CRAZY CULTURE AND ALL CRAZY CULTURES, AND LO THEY SHALL BE ABLE TO LAUGH, THE WORLD’S MOST POTENT WEAPON AGAINST THE POWERS OF EVIL.
    That’s what I think, anyway.


  2. My humble apologies for the double-posting. Apparently even though I can read books like this one that are clever, I am not clever enough to post a comment correctly.
    Elizabeth, you should be thrilled that your son will date girls who read this. That means that they will be witty, clever girls who will be a delight for you to talk to.


  3. Thank you! I wasn’t sure if the book was ironic — you just never know! The only daughter I have is severely disabled, so I’m left clueless about contemporary girls’ literature. I do have eleven and fourteen year old boys, though, and am relieved to know about this. Thank you!


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