106. Notes to Boys…And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public by Pamela Ribon
As a librarian many of the books I read come in the form of advanced readers copies. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Notes to Boys. I admit I was kind of stalking this book in the hopes of doing just that. I had read and loved Pamela Ribon’s previous four books Why Girls Are Weird, Why Moms Are Weird, Going in Circles, and You Take It From Here, the latter of which I named my favorite book of 2012. Thus when I heard she had another book coming out I was excited. I had also enjoyed the sort of sneak preview of the book in the form of the “Little Pam” posts on her blog, which ultimately turned into this book. I get most of my ARCs through NetGalley and knew that the publisher for this book puts some of their books up there so I started periodically searching for it to see if it was available just in case I missed it while browsing the list of new books available to request. Then the day before Thanksgiving I was browsing and saw that it was there. I was super excited to request it and then much to my delight I realized that Rare Bird Books is one of the publishers that has granted me auto-approval for their books so I didn’t even have to wait. I could download it immediately. Thus I spent my train ride to New York on Thanksgiving morning reading this book and loving it. It totally did not disappoint.
The book is a memoir of sorts based on the titular notes to boys that Ribon wrote as a teenaged girl. Apparently she made copies of many of the notes to keep for herself, so many if not all of these were actually sent. In addition to the notes themselves Ribon provides commentary on them including background information about the boys they are written to and what is going on in her life around the time they are being written as well as critiquing her writing style and what she is saying in them.
The addition of setting the scene for the notes provides a through story in the memoir so that it’s not just a series of notes with no backstory. The notes themselves are mostly cringeworthy, especially when you think about the fact that she actually gave these to people. I hate watching people embarrass themselves including fictional characters in books, movies, and television, so I kind of wanted to read much of this book through my fingers so I didn’t have to look. It makes me really glad that I never really gave any notes to boys as a teenager. Most of mine were sent to a friend. I would probably find many of them equally as cringeworthy, and I dearly hope she has burned all of them or at least thrown them away.
Lest you think you will be cringing in the fetal position the whole team you are reading this book let me assure you it is very funny as well. Ribon’s commentary on her notes is down right hilarious and I laughed out loud more than once while reading it. She puts humor in all the right places and does an excellent job sprinkling it throughout her commentary on the notes, which otherwise could have become very repetitive and boring to read.
She also deals with some tough issues in the book as well. Her home life had some definite difficulties and there was an incident of molestation she doesn’t go into much detail about, but does talk about in hindsight how it affected her relationships in the time period talked about in this book as well as into adulthood.
It’s a wonderful book, and I recommend it highly. If you were ever a teenaged girl you definitely need to read Notes to Boys. I give it a 9 out of 10.