Blogger, TV writer, “retired derby girl [and] Wonder Killer” Ribon (You Take It from Here, 2013, etc.) provides a contemporary perspective on her younger self’s most intimate teenage longings.
During her adolescent years, the author kept copies of the letters and notes she wrote to the various boys targeted for her affections. Along with her journal entries, those letters—to Thirty-Six Hours Boy, Silent Skateboarder Boy, Homeroom Boy, Nice Boy and Super Mario Brothers Boy—comprise much of the narrative thread, with chapter titles including “I Turned Sixteen and Got Really Horny on April 15th,” “Dear Dorkhouse Forum” and “My Year of Dicks.” Ribon explains her reasoning for retaining these embarrassing missives: “While most of you would probably not find it wise to publish your teenage diaries, it is an effective way to get people off your ass for saving all your shit, along with the bonus of a possible tax deduction once you reach Hoarding Level 3, also know as ‘I’d better rent a storage unit before I end up with a divorce.’ ” If reading through the detritus of Ribon’s adolescent longings is not tiresome enough, the author includes, in bold type, contemporary dissections of her previous copious correspondence and overwrought interior landscape. “The real tragedy is that nobody ever pulled me aside to gently inform me that some feelings I should keep inside, that not everybody deserves my truth,” she writes. “Or at least so much of my truth.” Many readers may agree with that sentiment.
Ribon’s numerous fans should welcome this retelling of “things she shouldn’t share in public,” now twined with her adult musings. For others, it’s a tedious slog through a year in the life of a teenager who, as the author herself recalled, wrote obsessively, compulsively and constantly.