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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Fifteen

Fifteen - Beverly Cleary

This book is almost 60 years old.  The mind boggles.

 

One might think that a 60 year old Young Adult book would be dated.  One would be absolutely correct.  This is a fascinating glimpse of the 1950's.  Want to know just how narrow a woman's place was in the world in the 1950's?  Read this.  It's an eye-opener.

 

Jane Purdy is a typical fifteen-year old girl who just wants to meet a boy, and she does.  Nothing atypical about that, even in modern YA fiction.  What's eye-opening here is Jane's attitude about herself and her place - her complete lack of self-confidence and worth.  Nowadays a character like this exists in stories as a cautionary tale with a moral that a girl needs to be confident and like herself for who she is and that she doesn't need a boyfriend to achieve either of those things.  Fifteen's moral is that Jane needed to be confident and like herself just so she could win the guy.

 

I bought this book recently because I remembered reading it as a young teen and I thought, what the hell, let's see how it holds up.  I knew it was written for a different time so I was able to enjoy the story, mostly.  Jane's easy willingness to immediately blame and berate herself for the first half of the story was tough to take but mostly because I knew this wasn't considered aberrant behaviour for the times.  Overall, though, it's well-written and it was a nice snapshot of just how far women have come.