A Wednesday Treasure

January 24, 2008 at 4:03 am (Books, Young Adult Fiction)

As I was going home earlier today, I stopped by the Book Room at my local library, where they sell books that aren’t being taken out often enough. Wandering through the piles of books, fingering the dusty spines as I passed each table, my eye caught something familiar. It was “The Fastest Friend in the West” by Vicki Groves.

I must have read this book about twenty times when I was in middle school. Lori was so much like me as a preteen: socially awkward and shy, slightly overweight. Some of the elements of this book I have never forgotten. One of my random recollections from the book is when Lori mentions that her old best friend is no longer her best friend because over the summer she lost weight, started washing her hair every day and learned how to dress. For the longest time, I literally thought THAT would fix my own life. Amazing the things that you pick up and carry with you.

I came home tonight, dropped my purse by the door and sat on the steps. I started flipping through the book again, reliving my fifth grade past as I relived Lori and Vern’s friendship (Vern is a fellow outcast at their school), and Lori’s eventual discovery of Vern’s homelessness. There were so many things in the book I still remembered clearly. There were also some things I had clearly forgotten. I had forgotten about Lori’s self-imposed transformation; when she paints her room to look like the ocean, with shells on the walls, and a new name for a new scene. Lorelei, after a mermaid.

I feel wild, what a rush back into middle school memories. Such an awkward time, and so many books that I read to escape the awkwardness…


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