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April 6, 2007

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Australians 'n Please help me find this book!

Last night before Stitch 'n Bitch, Faith and I met up with Kellie and her husband Dave. They are here visiting the states all the way from Melbourne, Australia! We had dinner at the French restaurant inside the West Hollywood Farmer's Market, it's called Monsieur Marcel. The food was fabulous (thanks, Dave!) and the conversation was awesome. And I was kind of in heaven because I am a sucker for a charming accent, which Kellie and Dave have in spades, and our waiter had that French accent that gets me every time. You know someone could read the light bill to me in a French accent and I'd be flinging my clothes off.

(I kept my clothes on at the table, just FYI.)

I hope I get to go to Australia one day and visit them, too. You know, in my entire life I have never met a bad Australian. There is something about folks from that continent, an easy charm and quick smile that I just love. And it was lovely to see a man look at his wife with such affection, the way Dave looks at Kellie when she's talking, telling a story. Gives a girl hope, know what I mean?

So when we were done with dinner and sitting around at Sitch 'n Bitch, the three of us got to talking about children's books. We're all three about the same age, OK, FINE, I AM MAYBE A LITTLE OLDER, and we have been big readers since we were kids. When I was little I had my nose stuck in some book all the time, books were my key to a world outside the small town I lived in. I LOVED to read. We didn't watch TV in my family, and I would just read all day long and well into the night until some cruel parent forced me to go to sleep. My folks never put any restrictions on what I could read, and I remember once when I was little, my mom and I were at the checkout counter in the library and my mom had to "have words" with the library lady, who was insisting the books I wanted were certainly not appropriate for a girl of six or seven years old. My mom stood her ground in my defense, and I got my Lloyd Alexander sci-fi thankyou, and I did not turn out to be an axe murderer so all is well. Take that, library lady!

So I confessed to Kellie and Dave that lately I have been obsessed with collecting backwards, finding the books I loved as a child and getting them back into my life. Perhaps this is a sign I need more sleep. We may never know.

I found my Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and the Marilyn Sachs books I loved as a young girl, and Betsy-Tacy-Tibb and "Secrets of The Shopping Mall" and "The Grounding of Group Six" and so many of my childhood favorites, carefully selected each school year from the Scholastic Books flyer that I anticipated the way a junkie wants a fix.

But there are two books I am DYING to find, and I can't remember their names! I was telling Kellie and Dave about them and even though Kellie and I grew up a whole world apart, she remembered one of the books too! So if any of ya'll have ever heard of these, please help a crazygirl out here. I will not stop on this nerdy quest until my geek love can be fulfilled.

Book #1, which my details are sort of vague on but Kellie remembered, too, so I am not crazy and making this up:
Main character named Laura, maybe. Family is from New York, they go somewhere for the summer, Catskills I think? where she hates the shower, it smells like sulphur. Is obsessed with Woody Allen and when she is in the city goes to this jazz bar she's heard Woody Allen frequents, and she kind of accidentally strolls into a movie set on the sidewalk one day.
**UPDATE** Thanks to commenter Kate, I think we have found this one!! I think she's right and it is "Rise and Fall of a Teen-Age Wacko" by Mary Anderson. We'll all know in one week's time because I just ordered it from a secondhand shop off Amazon.com. THANKS, Kate!!

Book #2, which is equally vague in my details but look I was like ten years old, ok:
Small dry southwestern town, kids in high school, main character a boy. His mom drives her car through the desert to let off steam. Something weird is happening in the town. Strange events... like, perhaps, are townspeople turning into cactus? Is it aliens? Cannot remember. Think the book had a title something like "Day the earth stood still" but that must not be the title since I have searched obsessively and can't find it.
**UPDATE** Still no name, but commenter Dorothy remembers this one too, where folks who loved animals and the earth were spared the fate of turning into cactii. Hee. If you know the title please share!

Do either of these books sound familiar? Am I the only person who is crazy about finding the stories she loved as a kid? I used to think my books were my closest friends, I swear I just assumed Laura Ingalls Wilder and I were probably the same person just stuck in different eras.

I was a weird child.

Thank God I grew out of that!


Posted by laurie at April 6, 2007 11:41 AM