I started 5th grade in my fifth school. We moved in a few weeks before the fall semester started with the hope that we’d get to know a few kids in the neighborhood and not feel too “alone” on the first day of school. (This was in 1972–the words “Go play” were all there was to parenting, thank heaven). It worked. But a lot changed in 5th grade and most of those changes were ones I didn’t like. My brother–the best person on Earth–was in high school now and had little time for me. My body went thru changes that made continuing to be a Tomboy tough. And I was among the first in my new class to experience those changes.
To help me thru it all my Mom ordered this book from the Scholastic Book Club flyer I brought home one week. It helped. For the first time a book mentioned “real stuff.” I wasn’t yet big on reading, but this book was one of the “gateway” books as we’d say today. The short diary entries–talking about real stuff were just the right length. Sometimes I even read TWO. By the end of that school year I was devouring books. It worked on that reluctance to read as well.
Diary of a Frantic Kid Sister by Hilda Colman [Note: The cover was re-done in the ’80s. I’ve shown “my” cover instead.]
Over the years, diaries, both fictional and real, have stayed a big part of my reading life. Here are a few of my favorites.
I like these so well that I’ve written one! Here’s a sample from my spoof royal one: ‘Milla’s Diary.
I loved this. That’s all I need to say, well that and JUST READ IT!!! Got it? I now want to read everything any Bronte published–that’s the effect this wonderful book had on me. It may be that, since I’m pretty ignorant on all things Bronte, I may not see things wrong with it. It happens. So, blame my ignorance if you find something I missed. I enjoyed every word of this!! The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James [Review was published on my old blog in October 2013]
Bridget Jones–first as a sex-deprived, granny-pantie wearing Singleton, friend to Smug Marrieds, took my heart at about word one. I’ve read them all and loved them, though Mad About the Boy is my favorite. And, yes, I enjoy the movies, too.
Marie Sharp is the older generation’s Bridget Jones. I laughed out loud so many times while listening to this one. She made me think of Diana Trent in Waiting For God–the British sitcom on PBS. Her take on life as a woman of a certain age is spot on. Then comes her grandson–improbably (to her) named Gene. The rest is even better! No! I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club by Virginia Ironside.
I read this in the then brand-new world of Online Book Clubs years and years ago. It is marvelous–as is the movie. As I read it I kept picturing Scarlett in Four Weddings and a Funeral–bright orange-red hair and all as the author. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
Dear America, My Name is America and the Royal Diaries series from the 1990s/2000s are very enjoyable. They are historical fiction for children. I’ve enjoyed several of them. Yes, there is a formula and they are a series, but they are well done. Most are still in print and all are available widely in used book stores and libraries.
Next Thursday: Part II Favorite Novels Told in Letters
Still to come: Favorite Nonfiction Diaries and Letter Collections
Do you have any favorite fictional diaries? Leave me a comment or a link–I’d love to hear about it.