Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"fresh pangs of rejection"

Amy Bryant has written a character in Polly, her first novel, that sometimes feels achingly close to my own, from some of the hateful notes she gets, to the crushes without reason, to the taunts, to the up and down emotions, to the ever-changing cast of best-friends, to the distant father~though i guess at least some of that is just typical teenage shit. Polly is told through successive relationships with the boys in her life, beginning with her first, Tommy Ward, who after she skates with him during a slow song at the skating rink, asks her to "go" with him the next time he sees her at school, and after that they are "going together" until cruel taunts drive them apart.

Next comes the dull-witted, going-nowhere Jason whose favorite pastime is dropping acid. He leaves notes for Polly addressing her as "Sweaty" which she knows means Sweetie. Jason is followed by many more who Polly feels ill-defined feelings of attraction for and they don't quite return her affection in kind. Unlike Polly most of my early burgeoning womanhood was spent lusting, questing after boymen who barely, if at all, knew i existed and it was probably better that way. I did however spent a lot of time around boys because, during my high school and early college years, for whatever reasons they were my "buddies", i somehow always got along better with the guys than the gals~go figure.

Polly is a story of stumbling through adolescence toward womanhood with little guidance and less male reassurance. It is told against the backdrop of the D.C. area 80s punk music scene. I was surprised that, even though i was across the country at the time, i seemed to be attending many of the same shows (one of the highlights of my young, disaffected life was when i got to party with Bad Brains after one of their shows). I may not have been involved in the "relationships" that Polly was, and i don't feel i was quite as uninformed as she was in her approach to sex (i think i might have been better off without her boyfriends for much of my younger life~or any boyfriends for that matter~i was always more of an independent roller {love-em-and-leave-em is the image i would have you believe, tho it was not quite so}~when i did end up with a boyfriend {by accident, almost, at the end of college~and i did discover years later that the one love i believed unrequited for years thought i was his one love too~or so he rewrote it later, but that's one of those oh-wells} it was always a surprise to everyone, most of all myself~this is all one long run on sentence that is better written in my own unwritten novel...), but her life was definitely one i could relate to. This is my kind of chick lit!

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