Welcome to “I AM READING THIS SO HARD RIGHT NOW”
In this segment, I like to share spoiler-free notable quotables on books I am loving the hell out of. Spoiler free, kiddos! I will not tell you Dumbledore dies. I will also not write you summaries. Writing summaries is for chumps, and I’m not a chump. I’m a woman in control of her own blog. I trust that you’re totally able to read the publisher’s summary or the jacket blurb on your own. Right? We’re all big girls here. I have no idea why I’m talking so sassy. I think I’m just cranky about the supposed finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Wait. Um. Huh? I’m so sorry.
I mean, I want to share with you an awesome excerpt from the funny and touching Where’s My Wand?: One Boy’s Magical Triumph over Alienation and Shag Carpeting by Eric Poole. Where’s My Wand was on the 2011 Rainbow List under “Young Adult/Crossover”. Personally, I see it more as a biography for adults (our library system even catalogs it that way). But, I guess if you have a pretty smart teen who likes David Sedaris-y type stuff, this will be a good fit. Hence, “crossover”. But first, this:
You cannot talk about this book without talking about Endora from Bewitched (kids, ask your grandparents. Or maybe it’s on TV Land. I have no idea. It’s a good show with good hair and really spot-on eye makeup). When I was a kiddo, I liked to Wonder Woman my way around the basement:
But Eric was all about pretending to be Endora, who, let’s face it, has mad style. She’s all swooshy and chic in her caftans:
I’m getting real ramble-y here. So, I wasn’t a closeted gay teen growing up in the Midwest in the 1970s. I didn’t grow up in a super-religious family. BUT, I was out of place, bullied, subject to a mother who liked things extra, extra, extra clean, faced with unreasonable standards I could never measure up to, and sometimes thought I could magic/pray my way out of bad situations. Poole had unique circumstances, but manages to be endlessly relatable, endearing, and hilarious. He also makes me want to buy caftans and swish around.
I need to stop flapping my mouth and pony-up an excerpt already.
“Okay, boys,” The Swoop announced, “today we’re gonna talk about some changes that you will soon begin to experience. These changes are completely natural, but the thoughts and actions that accompany them are not.”
As Boys Grow explained the process of puberty. Once we were able to get past the hilarious early sixties fashions and haircuts, we found the film highly informative, since most of us knew virtually nothing about sex. Afterward, The Swoop provided an informative addendum to the film by explaining the drastic and permanent consequences of personally pleasuring oneself. I reassured myself that I was not about to indulge in such an act, since blindness, insanity, and the A Train to Hell were far too high a price to pay for whatever pleasure might be elicited.
“These changes in your body,” The Swoop continued, “might tempt you to want to seek ‘physical pleasure’ with girls. This pleasure can take many forms, including over-the-sweater touching and inappropriate rubbing. But that temptation is the work of Satan. You must be vigilant and monitor yourself around those of the female persuasion at all times.”
I quietly noted with pride that I had never entertained such thoughts about the girls at either church or school and, in fact, found the whole notion somewhat ridiculous. I am, I thought to myself, right with Jesus. I looked around at the other RAs, wondering which of them did not possess my level of personal integrity, and was momentarily overwhelmed with pity for those less Christlike.
~~Where’s My Wand, by Eric Poole, pages 136-137
Oh, Eric. In his author blurb, he says that he was once called “the best undiscovered writer I ever met” by Tracy Ullman. Poole claims to be the love child of David Sedaris (don’t we all?), and that seems about right. He offers that kind of coming-of-age story that has you laughing while crying. You feel empathy and pity for him but simultaneously wish you had his gumption and wit. After you read Where’s My Wand?, shag carpeting will make you nervous for all sorts of new reasons. You already read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. So? Read this now.
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid