Monday, February 11, 2013

Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst

1984, 1985 Yearling edition
Lois Lowry
Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst
Original price $2.50, purchase price unknown
Very worn paperback

Not as good or as serious as A Summer to Die, it does have in common with Lowry's 1977 novel that it's aimed at preteens but touches on mature topics, this time sex (or at least how it's spelled), adultery (which Anastasia briefly suspects her father of committing), pregnancy again (although this time of two gerbils), and hormones (including the punchline-less joke of "How do you make a hormone?").  This is the 4th in the Anastasia Krupnik series (I've read a couple others but I think this is the only one I own), and bespectacled Anastasia is now in the 7th grade and newly 13.  She's starting to think her parents are weird rather than cool, but is told this due to hormones, so when she starts to like her parents again, she says her hormones must be gone, and no one enlightens her.  There's also a statue of Freud (her "analyst"), whom she confides in, including when the eleven gerbils (each with a magic marker spot on its head for identification) go missing, after a visit from the little girl who's bullying Anastasia's genius kid brother.  (There's a slight similarity here to the Murry family of Wrinkle in Time, minus the twins, although the father here is a writer, as was the dad in Summer.)

This is less of an '80s book than Summer was a '70s book, although it's worth noting that there are references to the British royal family, including baby William.  Also, Anastasia and her best friends "all dressed alike, in jeans and hiking boots and jackets.  Last week a girl in seventh grade had come to school wearing a jumper and a ruffled blouse, and everyone had hooted and laughed and teased her until she almost cried."  That poor girl would've fit in fine at my junior high, or more particularly high school, since the influences of Valley Girls and Preps had brought (back) into style more formal outfits for inland California teens.  By 1984, the most sophisticated girls were wearing faux pearls to school.  Maybe things were different in Lowry's Boston, especially for a girl who, as Lowry's website puts it, "was born in 1979, at the age of ten."

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