Saturday, January 28, 2012

Best Original Song - 2011

"Man or Muppet" from The Muppets performed by Jason Segel and Peter Linz

Movie Synopsis: Three fans help the Muppets reunite to save their theatre from a greedy oil tycoon. Adventures and wackiness ensue.

Does it appear in the movie (i.e. other than the end credits)? least I'm pretty sure it does?
Is it important to the plot? From my internet research, yes?
Is it pleasing to the ear? Silly as fuck, but yes.
"Real in Rio" from Rio performed by Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez,, and the Rio Singers

Movie Synopsis: A domesticated macaw goes to Rio De Janeiro with a she-macaw. Adventures and wackiness ensue.

Does it appear in the movie (i.e. other than the end credits)? Opening and closing.
Is it important to the plot? SOUTH AMERICAN BIRDS LIKE THE SAMBA!
Is it pleasing to the ear? Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros have soured me on all psuedo-South American music.

Oh, no. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. There are but two, I repeat, two--dos, deux, due, zwei, duobus--Best Original Song nominees this year. Why, you ask? Well, according to this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly:
"...the Academy's music branch introduced a rule change in 2009 demanding that tunes receive an average score of 8.25 or higher (out of 10) from branch members to earn a nod. And if just one song hits the 8.25 mark, the track with the next highest score gets a nomination."
Meaning: nothing is good enough for the pretentious asshats in the Academy's music branch. I mean, Christ, just for appearances throw in a third nominee. This is just embarrassing. It makes the category look pointless. (Which if you get down to it, the whole damn thing: film makers awarding film makers for the sake of getting awards is pointless...but I digress). In 1945, the category hit its peak with a staggering 14 nominations. The following year, the rules changed to limit the number of nominations to five maximum. Since then, only four years--1988, 2005, 2008, 2010--have strayed from this formula. But this is a new low.

It's hard to believe a mere seven years ago the Counting Crows's radio-friendly "Accidentally in Love" (from Shrek 2) was a nominee. And nine years ago Eminem's hoody-up anthem "Lose Yourself" (from 8 Mile) was the Best Original Song winner and a number one single on the Billboard charts. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Sigh...anyway, what gets my vote?
"Man or Muppet" from The Muppets

It made me laugh. It's better structured. It's bombastic. It's something.

So what will win?
I'd say "Man or Muppet" for all the reasons given above AND songs from The Muppet Movie (1979) and The Great Muppet Caper (1981) were previously nominated, so maybe the Academy has some love for the Muppets. Plus, I have a 50/50 chance of being right. I like them odds.

Before this year's Golden Globes, I listened to the five nominees for their Best Original Song category. Even though the Globes and the Oscars disagree on this category more than any other, I figured there could be some overlap. I was wrong, of course. It's unfortunate too because "Lay Your Head Down" from Albert Nobbs and the winning "Masterpiece" from Madonna's upcoming directorial debut W.E. are actually listenable. But the bestest, most awesome song?

"Hello, Hello" from Gnomeo & Juliet performed by Elton John and Lady Gaga

I love this song. It's catchy and a little weird (Come on, it's Elton and Gaga!). The first time I heard it during an impromptu viewing of Gnomeo & Juliet, I thought to myself "Oh fuck all, this will be my number one song." And so it was for several weeks. 

If this was a perfect world, "Hello, Hello" would be nominated for and win the Academy Award for Best Original Song 2011. Alas, we live in a world where two mediocre/okayish songs manage to rise above all else. Ugh. I won't give up on this category yet.

Also, I've been thinking about maybe, MAYBE, doing a Golden Globes Best Original Song comparison retrospective. I could also try to catch songs I missed (aka songs that couldn't be found on Youtube at the time). Hmmmm.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Heart Will Go On or: Is There Life After Boys?

Story Order: #5
Publication Order: #2 (1987)
Time Covered: 7th Grade

So Linda chose to go to the all-girls private school. Life and adventures awaited her. There was no way readers of We Hate Everything But Boys could stand to not find out what happened to Linda at Huntington. Thus, we get the first legit sequel in the Linda series and we wonder, is there really life after boys?

Plot Summary
It’s the day before the first day of seventh grade for Linda who is regretting her decision to go to Huntington. Whilst hanging out with The Crowd--Darlene (friend), Suzy (friend), Ken (Suzy’s crush), Harley (Darlene’s crush), Jeff (Linda’s “boyfriend”), and Sue-Ann (that skank who also likes Jeff)--Linda gets tired of hearing about how great a time they’re going to have at the public junior high, 515 and so she runs off.

Jeff (because he is so fucking perfect in a 1950’s sort of way) runs after her and offers to buy her a soda at the candy store. Later he walks her home, puts his arm around her shoulder and opens the door for her.
As he turned to go, he looked at me, and his blue eyes shone. “Don’t worry, Linda. It won’t matter that you’re going to a different school. You’ve still got your friends. And you’ve still got your boyfriend, too.” He grinned impishly, and then he ran off down the stairs.
Yep, everything’s gonna be allllllllllllllllllllll right.

So Linda starts Huntington and the only other person she knows is mousy Jan Zieglebaum. Instead of joining any clubs or participating in extra-curricular activities, Linda is anxious to get back home so she can hang out with her friends and Jeff. However, they have their own after school stuff which causes her to cling to Jan and her friends, Rosalie “Roz” Buttons and Fran Zaro.

Luckily, Darlene invites Linda to play in a coed football game in the park. Linda invites Jan who invites Roz and Fran--which as you can imagine, doesn’t go over too well. Anyway, Jeff tackles Linda in the game and we get a little sexual tension…
For a moment, we just lay there. His body was on top of mine. I could hear his breathing in my ear. I forgot about football. I forgot the pain radiating from my elbow. I forgot Jeff’s weight crushing my chest. All that mattered was that I was lying there in his arms, closer than I had ever been to him before. It was wonderful!
Despite believing that being tackled by Jeff in a weekend football game solidifies her position as girlfriend, Linda is pretty much cut out of The Crowd by Halloween. She is invited to a party (drink!) with Jan, Roz, and Fran, but decides to hold out for better things. Darlene rushes to get Linda invited to Lawrence’s Halloween party (drink!). Sue-Ann is a huge cunt (as usual) but Jeff seems really happy Linda could attend. They even kiss during a weird bob for apples/kissing game.


After Halloween, most of The Crowd joins a Journalism club, so Linda starts hanging out with Jan and her Huntington friends, Merl and Helen. They go ice skating in Central Park and Jan gets sick. While visiting her, Linda hits it off with Fran and Roz. Then she goes to Merl’s birthday party (drink!)

Then comes the first snowfall and Linda goes to Suzy’s apartment building to ask her to go sledding. She grows nostalgic for the year before when she and Jeff built a snowman and bonded. While staring up at his window, Jeff comes up behind her and informs her that he and Suzy are now a part of the Choral Music Club. He invites her to their concert, but Linda doesn’t have a good feeling about it.

Linda asks Jan, Fran, Roz, and Roz’s older sister Lily to go as airbags. Linda is ignored by The Crowd, as usual, but Darlene invites her to pizza afterwards. Linda says no, to be loyal to Jan et al. and Jeff goes with his friends. However, every cloud has a silver lining. A hot ninth grade boy named Mark starts flirting with Linda.

In my mind, all these "older guys"
automatically look like teen idols from when
I was 13.

On a later date, Linda, Jan, etc. go to the ice cream parlor and accidentally sit next to some Older Boys from 515: Mark (dark-haired), Gary (blonde), and Randy (dorky with big ears). Linda realizes that Mark is super nice and that his smile is nicer than Jeff’s!!!

Then there’s a subplot about the Huntington girls volunteering at the Manhattan School for the Blind…which, yay, good for Linda helping the visually impaired.

Now back to the good part…Linda decides to have a New Year’s Eve party and invite The Crowd. It’s her last chance! But when she calls around, Darlene and Suzy are already busy and apparently, there isn’t another party going on…so, Linda just has a slumber party (drink!) with Jan, Fran, and Roz. They experiment with makeup and leg shaving! Tee-hee-hee! Then Linda chances to look out the window.
Under the glow of the streetlamp I could see them all standing there in front of Marvin Haven’s building. They were all dressed up, for they were going to a real New Year’s Eve party.
They were all there. Everyone who was anyone. Lawrence was standing with his arm around Darlene. Suzy was smiling up at Ken, who was stomping his feet in an attempt to keep warm. Lisa Finklestein and Rena Widmark were hovering around Harley… Then, as I watched, I saw them coming down the block. Jeff Davidson, who used to be my boyfriend, holding the hand of my archenemy, Sue-Ann Fein.
Fran, Roz and Jan comfort Linda and tell her that she’s better off without Jeff and The Crowd. Linda realizes her real friends have been there the entire time! Screw Suzy and Darlene! And screw the memories! The foursome vow to BFF’s 4-eva and only go after older boys!

So, we’re 85% through Is There Life After Boys? and we’re only to New Year’s. The last two remaining chapters follow Linda and friends in their quest to get the Older Boys to like them back.

  • Linda likes Mark (brunette and seemingly perfect)
  • Fran likes Gary (blonde and a dick)
  • Roz and Jan like Sheldon (that baseball player from WHEBB)
  • Nobody likes Randy 
Linda and Fran attempt to engage Mark and Gary by asking them questions about photography n’ shit. Then this skank named Sylvia starts flirting with Mark. Apparently, she lead him on but then started dating an older guy. Fran decides the best thing to do is confess her and Linda’s respective feelings for Gary and Mark, because nothing else has worked so far. Amazingly, it sort of works. Week after week, the “couples” practice photography in the park.

While waiting to meet up with Mark, Gary, and Fran, Linda strolls through the park and sees her old friends watching the boys play a baseball game much like at the end of We Hate Everything But Boys.
“Oh--hi, Linda,” was all Darlene managed to say.
“What’s so funny?” said Suzy with a nervous giggle.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I shrugged. “Maybe it’s seeing you all here, just the way you were last year, watching the same boys play ball. It’s like nothing’s changed, and yet, at the same time, everything has.”
Then Linda turns her attention to Jeff on the pitcher’s mound.
As I watched, he tossed in a perfect pitch, striking the batter out. The girls next to me let out a cheer, and Jeff looked up to them for approval. When he looked up his eyes met mine, and for a moment he looked absolutely stunned. Then he smiled a kind of sheepish half-smile and turned his attention to the ball once again.
I watched him for a moment and found, to my great surprise, that I felt nothing. I could have been watching Harley or Ken, or even Marvin for all the difference it made to me. Jeff just didn’t mean anything to me anymore--it was finally all over.
At that moment, Fran enters with Sexy Mark and Sexy Gary and the girls are left drooling as Linda walks into the future with the Older Boys.

I first read Is There Life After Boys? the summer after I graduated from high school. I finally had a debit card and the ability to buy used, out-of-print YAF from The first thing I ordered was naturally the nine Linda books I didn’t own/previously steal from Oakesdale School District.

That summer, I started re-reading. The first two prequels were tough, but 2 Young 2 Go 4 Boys and We Hate... wetted my appetite. I would finally find out what happened to Linda and her own-true-love Jeff Davidson!!!


The first time I read Is There…, it sent me into such a mild depression that I couldn’t bring myself to finish the series. You see, just finishing high school, I was about to go off to college--a coed college, but college just the same. I was to be separated from all my old friends and my object of affection--not my boyfriend, but separated just the same.

This book was an unfortunate example that I could lose contact with my high school friends even though we promised to FRIENDS FOREVER! Jordyn no liked, bad medicine.

Fast forward to 2012. Upon re-reading Is There… a second time, I was less depressed.

First of all, Linda, Linda, Linda why did you go to Huntington? I mean, I get it. I get it, okay? Education is more important than your social life! You can make friends wherever you go! Real friends are loyal and will stick with you no matter where you go to school! I get it! But Jeff Davidson…there is but one Jeff Davidson and you let him go!

Hey, he could look like this one day!

I guess that’s not fair. In agreeing to be boyfriend-girlfriend, the imaginary contract clearly states that neither party is allowed to cheat. But he’s a twelve/thirteen year old boy. He has no integrity. Of course he’s going to go for Sue-Ann if she’s persistent enough. And Christ, is she. As much as I hate that little twat, she did the work and I’m sorry, Linda, but she deserves him. (I will admit that Sue-Ann’s only sins are being snotty to Linda. For all we know, she could be a much better match for Jeff. Just sayin’)

Seventh grade relationships die faster than carnival game goldfish, so I’m really only slightly saddened by the exit of Jeff Davidson. What hurts the most is the ending of Linda’s friendship with Darlene and Suzy. They’re were such good friends! Especially Linda and Darlene! They cried together and talked about periods! THEY WERE WHEBB!!!

Well, life goes on. Linda makes new friends who aren’t as “cool” as the members of The Crowd (my capitalization, btw). So what if Jan is underdeveloped and boys don’t like her? So what if Fran has frizzy hair and a “nutty” personality? So what if Roz…well, I don’t know exactly what’s “wrong” with Roz other than she hangs out with flat-chested Jan and crazy Fran. Whatever. Linda has real friends now, friends she’ll have until the end of the series!

Even though the word BOYS is a part of the title, this isn’t exactly a romantic story. It’s the story of how Linda goes to private school, loses her friends and boyfriend, and then makes new friends and gets a new crush in Mark. (Just Mark, he has yet to be given a last name). Oh, Mark…how…just…very bland you are. I know we haven’t really been given a chance to get to know him, but he seems to have no faults…other than liking that skank Sylvia. (What’s up with that?)

We have now entered the next phase in Linda’s love life; Older Boys. In the next book, watch as she chases after high school boys as it seems every girl in America does, except me. 

Useless Character List For My Enjoyment
  • Linda Berman - Protagonist (1-5)
  • Jeff Davidson - Linda's "boyfriend" (3-5)
  • Sue-Ann Fein - Linda's rival for Jeff (3-5)
  • Darlene Mason - Linda's best friend (3-5)
  • Suzy Kletzel - Linda's best friend (3-5)
  • Ken Wolfson - Suzy's crush (3-5)
  • Harley Silver - Darlene's crush (3-5)
  • Jan Zieglebaum - Other girl going to Huntington (4, 5)
  • Ira and Joey Berman - Linda's twin little brothers (1-5)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Berman - Linda's parents (1-5)
  • Jo Rondi - Big sister at Huntington (5)
  • Ms. Bouton - Linda's homeroom teacher (5)
  • Merl Marks - Rich friend from Huntington (5)
  • Helen Niven - Friend from Huntington (5)
  • Samantha Milken - Snotty girl from Huntington (5)
  • Mr. Lawton - Hot English teacher at 515 (5)
  • Mrs. Zieglebaum - Jan's mother (4, 5)
  • Rosalie "Roz" Buttons - Friend of Jan's (5)
  • Fran Zaro - Friend of Jan's (5)
  • Lisa Finklestein - Girl in the crowd (3-5)
  • Lawrence Carlson - "Mature" guy and later Darlene's "boyfriend" (4, 5)
  • Marvin Haven - Creep from Linda's building (3-5)
  • Mrs. Marks - Merl's mother (5)
  • Nora Whitmire - Merl's snobby and rich friend (5)
  • Carla LeClaire - Broadway actress friend of Mrs. Marks (5)
  • Ms. Jean Wise - Junior high division head the the Manhattan School for the Blind (5)
  • Harriet Crucker - Student at MSB (5)
  • Jeremy Layne - Student at MSB (5)
  • Lily Buttons - Roz's older sister (5)
  • Gary - Older boy Fran likes (5)
  • Mark - Older boy Linda starts to like (5)
  • Randy - Older boy and friend of Gary and Mark (5)
  • Sheldon - Older boy Roz and Jan like (4, 5)
  • Sylvia - Skank Mark liked earlier in the year (5)

Linda's Kiss List For My Enjoyment
  • Lawrence Carlson (4)
  • Jeff Davidson (4, 5)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

One Track Minds or: We Hate Everything But Boys

Story Order: #4
Publication Order: #1 (1985)
Time Covered: 6th Grade

Here we go. The book that started it all. Without precedent or fanfare came We Hate Everything But Boys in 1985. It was the simple story of Linda Berman and her two best friends who try, desperately, to get their "own-true-loves" to like them back.

According to Linda Lewis's website, WHEBB sold 300,000 copies (which I know, is like nothing compared to Twilight, but whatever). As simple as it was, something about the book spoke to pre-teen girls and thus, a series was launched.

Plot Summary
Just like 2 Young 2 Go 4 Boys, this books begins on the first day of school. Linda is looking for Jeff Davidson, "the most important boy in her life". We are given a brief recap of how the former Tomboy lost her heart on the basketball court when Jeff knocked her down and then graciously took her hand to help her up. Linda hopes that she and Jeff will be in the same sixth grade class, but oh fie! Jeff is in 6-3 (along with Linda's bestie: redheaded, voluptuous Darlene Mason) and she is in 6-1 with her other bestie: chubby and giggly Suzy Kletzel. Also in 6-1 are Harley Silver and Kenton Wolfson, Darlene's and Suzy's respective crushes.

After a flirtatious (?) run-in with their guys after school, Linda laments being an eleven year old girl in love with an eleven year old boy.

"Love!" giggled Suzy. "Do you really love Jeff Davidson?"
"Well, put it this way--I'm crazy about him! He's so cute in his lovable chubby way. He's got a great sense of humor and is always doing something that makes me laugh. When he smiles, it just sends shivers through me!"
The trio then decides to do the most sixth grade thing ever and start a club whose one goal is to learn how the boys really feel about them. They name their club We Hate Everything But Boys or WHEBB for short. Then they buy sailor hats and write the name of their crush on the inside. You see, they figure the boys will get curious about what "WHEBB" means and...start to like them...(Oh, sixth graders and their logic!)

Naturally, the plan backfires and instead of being mesmerized by the sailor hats, Jeff, Harley, and Ken steal them in a game of keep-a-way. The girls' secrets are revealed and everyone is humiliated. WHEBB decides to lay low until the whole thing blows over.

Weeks later, things seem to be okay when Jeff smiles at Linda from the pitcher's mound during a baseball game. However, Jeff has another admirer in snotty Sue-Ann Fein. And then Darlene gets sexually harassed by some older guys. She and Linda run away but Darlene is naturally upset that her over-developed figure brings her such negative attention. Linda reassures her that the other girls are jealous and in time, she won't stick out so much.

Over the next few months, nothing big happens. Nerdy Jan Zieglebaum has a birthday party without boys, so WHEBB starts prank calling their crushes in one of the bedrooms. They get in trouble. Then the sixth grade girls take an entrance exam for Huntington, a prestigious all-girls private school. Linda wants to do well on the test, but can't imagine going to an all-girls school and being away from Jeff.

After the first snowfall, she and Jeff have a snowball fight which brings them closer together. Linda gets herself invited to his birthday party, but then gets uninvited after getting into a fight about something so stupid and forgettable that I refuse to look it up even though the book is sitting right in front of me.

Then Ken has a party. A boy-girl party. (Seriously, drink every time someone has a party in this series.) Lawrence Carlson, a new and apparently "mature guy" likes Darlene. At the shindig, Linda is asked to dance by  Jeff, but she realizes she has chicken pox and doesn't want to get him sick. (Yes, yes, she did the right thing. But if I had the chance to slow dance with my sixth grade crush, he would have gotten infected.)

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold...

Linda learns that she--and Jan Zieglebaum--passed the Huntington test. Of course, her parents, principal, and teacher, Miss Delaney, want Linda to go to Huntington but her friends want her to stay with them at 515, the pubic junior high. If only she had a boyfriend to help her make that decision...

As the school year winds to a close, Linda, Suzy and Darlene each buy an autograph book with the intent of getting their guys to sign their sixteenth page...which is meant for the one you love...and everyone knows this, according to Darlene, and if not, they're living in the dark ages. Darlene's is signed by Lawrence who she's decided is more of a man than Harley.

Linda succeeds in getting Jeff to sign her sixteenth page:

        The door is locked; the key is in the cellar.
        There's no one home but Linda and her feller.

        Seriously, I hope this graduation is the foundation of
       your education whether you go on to Huntington or 515.
                          Your boyfriend,
                          Jeff Davidson

Then he turns right around and signs Sue-Ann's sixteenth page.


Not long after, Linda decides to go to Huntington, mostly because her parents stress the importance of education. Suzy and Darlene are pissed, but Linda claims nothing will change; they'll see each other plenty after school.

Hotshot Lawrence has a--you guessed it!--party to celebrate graduation. This one is formal which means Linda needs a new dress and, gulp!, a BRA. Lawrence orchestrates a game of Post Office and even though Linda is peeved at Jeff for jerking her around, she still wants to go in the closet with him. First she gets called by Marvin Haven who kisses her on the cheek and then Lawrence who gives her her first real kiss. Then she is called by Jeff!

        He bent down and kissed me hard on the lips. I had just started to enjoy it when he started laughing again! I shoved him away. Enough was enough! He hadn't paid attention to me all night and now this!
        "So that's your idea of a Special Delivery kiss! Well you can just call Sue-Ann's number from now on!"
        "Hey, wait a minute!" He was still laughing.
        "Just this!" He bent down and kissed me again. 
        This time it was a real kiss. It was kind of awkward. It was not as sexy as Lawrence's. But you could tell meant it. I closed my eyes and wished it could go on forever. But neither of us knew how to make a kiss last.
        "Better?" he asked.
        "Much better," I said breathlessly.

And if that doesn't seal the deal for you, Jeff gives her note written on a napkin before leaving the party:

Open this up and you will see--
That I like you better than Fein,
really I do.

So, everything worked out for the best. Jeff likes Linda, not Sue-Ann. Lawrence likes Darlene, to hell with Harley. And Suzy...well, there isn't anything about Suzy, but one assumes that nothing ever happens between her and Ken. Semi-happy endings for all.

Sort see, a few days after this party, Linda goes to a baseball game and notices a ninth grader named Sheldon who is hot. She forgets all about Jeff for a second and wonders if an older boy will ever replace her own-true-love. (My guess is yes if she's already thinking about someone else days after she kissed him!)

The novel ends on a sort of downer note. Linda graduates. She remembers everything she went through and then...
Closing exercises are over. I'm walking out of the auditorium. No one is holding hands now. I'm walking by myself.
Christ, where to start? First of all, I've read We Hate Everything But Boys more than any other book. I had always been a, how can I put this?, romantically charged young lady. Some call it boy crazy, but I wasn't crazy for all boys or even several boys. I found one and then stuck with him for years--yes, years--on end. In the fifth grade, I didn't have any friends who were like me in this respect, so I turned to literature. On the bookshelf of my classroom's piddly library, probably next to a copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins, was We Hate Everything But Boys.

I devoured it in one sitting, much like I did yesterday for this review. For the first time, I found characters who felt what I felt. Boys were the whole reason they got up and went to school. Every waking thought was spent on that one guy. Besides this book inspiring my entire writing career, it also helped me through sixth grade.

That being said, WHEBB just doesn't do it for me anymore. Oh, I still like it and all, but you know...I sort of grew out of it. This time around, I couldn't help but cringe at some of Linda's behavior. And I was a little bit harsher on the pacing and plot points.

First of all, Tomboy Linda is gone. There isn't even one throwaway comment like "I used to be a Tomboy but now I love boys!!!" She isn't completely a girly girl; bras and periods still freak her out and she never misses the chance to be physical with Jeff...and by that I mean, she chases him, steals his stuff, and has two snowball fights with him.

Oh, Jeff Davidson...I do still like you, you irritating little shit. You like Linda, then Sue-Ann. You're nice, then you're a dick...Suddenly, my entire romantic life makes sense to me...

Anyway, analysis...Linda, Suzy, and Darlene start a club devoted to learning the true feelings of Jeff, Ken, and Harley. Great. I'm sure many a sixth grade girl has done something better. But the sailor hats? Fashion aside, why the FUCK would you write "I like [insert crush's name here]" inside anything you take out in public?? Seriously, they were just asking for it.

And along with this, I was so surprised how many people knew Linda liked Jeff. She cheers for him (and against her own class's team) OUT LOUD. Repeatedly "shapely legged" Rena and rival Sue-Ann tease her about liking him. Having been in the position of having everyone know who I liked myself, I can't understand why Linda doesn't just lie. Or act. I guess liking someone at PS 373 isn't as much cause for gossip as it was at Oakesdale Elementary circa 1999.

Anyway...analysis. I was also surprised by Darlene being sexually harassed. Following that scene, Darlene also describes a similar situation when a son of her mother's friend attacked her in his bedroom. I know it happens and probably more often to girls as developed as Darlene, but fuck, you don't find it in light-hearted YAF of the 80's. Who would think something with this cover would contain sexual assault?

Second edition cover. Circa 1990.

Now, about that ending...Maybe this says too much about me, but there is no way in hell I would have ever gone to an all-girls school. Especially not at age 11 and especially not if I had a "boyfriend" like Jeff claims to be for Linda. But we most follow our own paths and if Linda wants to do it, I'm sure it'll work out for her...

But that wasn't the only thing that irritated my eleven year old heart after reading and re-reading WHEBB. Sheldon. Sheldon. That random guy Linda briefly eyefucks. Just who is he and what is he doing disrupting my happy ending? Linda and Jeff are meant to be! Elementary love is pure and forged before hormones completely take over our common senses. Go away, Sheldon! Linda doesn't need your straight black hair and muscles and deep, post ball-dropping voice.

Oh. Oh, yes. I see now.

At eleven, I still hated the ending. I even ripped out the last pages so it ended right after Jeff gives Linda the note at the party. Seriously. I had to buy a new copy in 2006. So, after spending one year coming to grips with her romantic side and another year pining and chasing after the Jeff Davidson, Linda finally gets him. But already it's not enough.

Useless Character List For My Enjoyment
  • Linda Berman - Protagonist (1-4)
  • Suzy Kletzel - Linda's giggly best friend (3, 4)
  • Darlene Mason - Linda's mature best friend (3, 4)
  • Jeff Davidson - Linda's "own-true-love" (3, 4)
  • Marvin Haven - Creep from Linda's building (3, 4)
  • Ira and Joey Berman - Linda's twin brothers in the second grade (1-4)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Berman - Linda's parents (1-4)
  • Mrs. Birnbaum - Teacher of Jeff and Darlene's class (4)
  • Mr. Wohl - Principal of PS 373 (3, 4)
  • Miss Delaney - Strict teacher of Linda's class (4)
  • Harley Silver - Conceited and handsome crush of Darlene's (3, 4)
  • Kenton Wolfson - Harley's second banana; Suzy's crush (3, 4)
  • Steven Warshinsky - Nerd in Linda's class (3, 4)
  • Rena Widmark - Bossy girl with shapely legs in Linda's class (3, 4)
  • Jan Zieglebaum - Mousy, nerdy girl in Linda's class (4)
  • Lisa Finklestein - Snobby, beautiful rich girl in Linda's class (3, 4)
  • Sue-Ann Fein - Stuck up girl who likes Jeff (3, 4)
  • Roger Hall - Older bully who harasses Darlene (4)
  • Georgie Johnson - Roger's buddy (4)
  • Mrs. Zieglebaum - Jan's mother (4)
  • Mrs. Davidson - Jeff's mother (4)
  • Mr. Wolfson - Ken's father (4)
  • Miss Chester - Substitute teacher for Linda's class (4)
  • Lawrence Carlson - Mature sixth grade boy who likes Darlene (4)
  • Sheldon - Older boy that Linda thinks is hot (4)

Linda's Kiss List For My Enjoyment
  • Lawrence Carlson (4)
  • Jeff Davidson (4)