Oh the horror, the horror

I don’t know if anyone read Naomi Wolf’s article this past weekend in the NYTBR, but here’s the quick recap. It was basically talking about Gossip Girls and The Clique, et al, and bemoaning the fact that girls were reading these series that were filled with such gosh-darn meanness. And I thought, bitch please, did you go to junior high school??? ‘Cause I’m still licking the scars from that house of pain.

I mean, seriously. Jr. High (Middle school, whatever–you can dress it up, give it a name change, it still sucks) exists so that when you finally read Dante’s Inferno, you can nod in recognition. Tenth circle of Hell? I’d vote for going to the eighth grade dance in a white eyelet number your mom sewed for you and spending the entire dance sitting on the sidelines for a period of time so long that it cannot be explained by any known scientific theory. Other highlights? I seem to remember having my pet rock collection stolen by the Mean Girls on the same day that I had my braces tightened till I drooled. Hands put into warm water at slumber parties. Having one girl named Maureen threaten to kick my ass nearly every week. And I had to take Home Economics where we sewed sailor tops we were then forced to wear to school en masse. Hold on. I might need to blast the Buzzcocks at nosebleed levels just to shock the memories from my mind.

I’m pretty sure if they hired Middle School girls to work Guantanamo, there’d be a lot of guys talking.

In other news, I had a birthday over the weekend. I spent it at blackholly‘s (Tithe, Valiant, Spiderwick Chronicles) cool rambling house with the bat lighting fixture up in Amherst, MA. I called Holly in a major writing crisis funk about three weeks ago and, um, pretty much BEGGED to come stay at her house to write. She, being the kind soul that she is, said okay, even though her house was under construction at the time. I had a great time writing and hanging with Holly, theoblack, cassandraclaire, jbknowles, tromboneborges, Fizgig the cat and Chamberlain, the world’s smelliest greyhound. They made me feel XL special with dinner and a goodie bag filled with Jesus lip balm, bacon strips Band Aids, and the fifth season of Twilight Zone on DVD. We spent a lot of time talking about movies that scared the bejeebers out of us as kids. (No one mentioned Jr. High, but I’m sure it was all on our minds.) My top faves were:

1. Son of Blob. A terrible ’70’s remake but just knowing that that lethal pink ooze could come out of the tap and kill you in the bathroom put me off bathing for a while. I made my mom run my bath all summer.
2. The Omen. Possessed demon children. Billie Whitelaw playing the evil nanny. Creepy priests and DAvid Warner wearing a silly ascot. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I saw this with my friend Jeannie and we read Satanic meaning into everything after that.
3. Trilogy of Terror. This was a TV special with Karen Black that featured a demonic doll terrorizing her in her NYC apt. One of the many reasons I hate dolls. Sorry, Holly.
4. Suspiria. So creepy. So bloody. Acid-trip imagery. And the music makes you want to scream.
5. When a Stranger Calls, the original. Hey, I babysat a lot back then.

I didn’t actually see movies like The Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby till I was much older so they don’t count. (come to think of it, I’m not sure how I managed to see Suspiria so young. Probably at Jeannie’s house.)
6. Ben. A boy adopts a rat with ambition. And Michael Jackson sings the treacly theme song. Made me look askance at Templeton, I can tell you that.

Still, I would rather have rabid rat-hamsters dig through my entrails than repeat Jr. High. That’s true horror.

74 thoughts on “Oh the horror, the horror

  1. Well, now that I’ve had my moment of, “OHMYGOD, LIBBYBRAYHASANLJ!”, I’ll calm myself down and write a somewhat sensible comment. Happy Belated Birthday, and I’m with you on the rat-hamsters vs. Junior High thing. I think it’s only there as a torture device to seperate the weak from the not-so-strong. I mean, what girl survives it without a single bathroom breakdown?

    Erf. And if I may have another fan-girl moment, I’m going to be attending TxLA’s conference in April, the day of your talk. Soexcited. And thus ends the fangirl moment.

    And I’m suprised you know Holly Black, too. Not suprised, exactly, but it certainly perpetuates that whole ‘secret writers society’ image. =P

  2. I met some of my best friends in middle school. But yeah, you’re right. I remember the school dances…we were one of those schools that had then during school hours, so after I learned that nothing possible could ever happen to me at those things, I spent the entire time in the library with my friends playing cards.

    I do remember the last dance, just after I “graduated.” They played some corny, emotional graduation song and all of the popular people put their arms around eachother’s shoulders and moved about in a circle. Guess who wasn’t included in that…

    Ah well, for everything that happened in there, I wouldn’t trade my friendships for the world.

    Enough selfish rambling from me, happy belated birthday! I hope your writing is going well.

  3. I think the art of horror flicks is dead. Look what I had to grow up with: Scream: 1, 2, and most unfortunately, 3, and the I know what you did last summer movies. Sad, really.

    And yes, Junior high was a horror. Luckily I moved around alot so that I didn’t have to stay in one school for too long.

  4. I’ll take the Chainsaw Massacre before the Jr. High play

    So Jr. High is hell for everyone – possibly living through Jr. High has made me eager to be home-schooled. There is by far nothing worse the preteen girls rebuking every move of her peers, then dressing like a prostitute in training, complete with cherry lipstick. Ehhhh…whatever.

    By the way,
    I love your novels so far. I don’t believe I could choose between A Great and Terrible Beauty or Rebel Angels.
    and I added you as my friend, hope you don’t mind.

  5. happy birthday

    and middle school doesn’t suck everywhere
    once again, i plead that you visit my school
    hippie high. peace and love dude, that’s what we’re all about

  6. Er.

    Wow. I’m sorry you had such a traumatic jr. high experience. Mine was rather enjoyable. Compared to the hell that is high school now…*mutters*
    Happy birthday, by the way!


    i AM reading taht book now was just on lisi harrisons sui\ite andf came to check out ur live jouranl and u like mentioned the clique deja vu
    PS ur books are awesome

  8. Jr. High

    Pity me, I’m in it. An outcast among outcasts. *sighs* Meh, it’ll be over in a year and a half or so.

    Creepy movies. UUCK! They are creepy.

    A book someone was reading, one of the ones with the plaid/argyle covers, had these high school looking girls on the cover who were supposed to be in seventh grade. HA! Don’t read those books, don’t want to have to expirience Jr. High and read about it at the same time. I’ll stick to AGATB & RA.

    Happy Birthday!! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! You are updating more.

  9. NYTBR

    I did in fact read Wolf’s article last weekend, and to tell the truth, I found the Gossip Girls and the Clique series so unrealisitic is almost made me throw up. I had a pretty good Jr. High experience, although it was interupted by my dad recieving orders to move (military brat speaking here). So, maybe I shouldn’t be the one to talk. Though, I do think its important that parents know what exactly their kids are reading, so the article wasn’t a complete waste.

    I throughly enjoy your books Mrs. Bray and best of the writing luck to you on your next installment in the series!

  10. Kartik

    I was reading people’s comments and things and someone wrote “please don’t let Kartik die”. NO WAY…. I don’t know if this is a rumor or not, but I think (and plenty people agree with me) that kartik is a great character, and the um…..uhhem…relationship between Kartik and Gemma is awesome!
    Oh ya….. GO 7-11!!!
    a fan

  11. Gossip Girls+ Clique

    Ok, I must admit, the Clique series is like my dirty little secret, I thoroughly enjoy reading about someone’s life that sucks more than mine. Not that my life sucks, in reality I’m quite lucky…but moving on. I find myself re-reading the Clique books over and over again, and I’m not sure why…oh well, this was really a pointless comment, but I completely agree, middle school sucks big, and I can’t wait until this, when I’m free of it forever.


  12. I need HELP!!!

    hello my name is nina and i need to write a paper on my fav. author and i chose you but there are a few things that i can’t find on you to save my life!

    1.what year were you born i know its kinda personal but we cant all hide forever lol
    2.i know you had a brother but was he older than you and did you have any other siblings
    3.and one last thing i need to know what classes in school during all grades did you hate?

    if you could like post this up sometime or e-mail me at Tahlia68@aol.com it would be wonderful and i would love you all the way until the day i die thank you tons nina

  13. seriously, WORD.

    junior high hated me and always will. i’d rather have cockroaches crawling through my uterus than ever go back to eighth grade.


  14. nicolettamaria

    You think middle school girls are catty? Try not having any boys around like at my school. By the way, could you reccomend any sites for aspiring writers?

  15. the clique series

    my friends and I pass the clique boks around and luagh at the,=m there dumb abd funny and pretty enjoyable but I swear they are not in the legaue of AGATB. I mean,theu’re hilarious but literature? No way! The writings not that bad in and of itself a but the author manges to recap the characters wardrobe every two pages.

  16. an awful ending to a great begining

    To start i would like to say that ‘Rebel Angels” is a great book, i couldn’t put it down! but i was really disappointed with the ending, i mean who would leave a perfect man like simon?? He was the perfect person to spend her life with. Besides that i loved it it was suspenseful, romanced, and amazingly written. will u write another one?
    please respond to me at thank you very much.
    Katie McPhail

  17. (Hello, backlog)

    If you liked Suspiria you should watch Deep Red (Profundo Rosso), an even better movie by the same director. It’s kind of weird because most versions were never fully dubbed in English so the characters kind of ping-pong between English and Italian. Somehow it works, though.

  18. hey! I’m in Jr. High rite now and it’s not that bad! ok so there is the “Mean Girls”, jocks, jerks, and the accasional girl everyone is thoroly convinced is pregnent. there’s the being picked on, picked at, left out, laughed at, and the never-ending rumors that have people crying all the time, but…. Ok, never mind it is as bad as u said. I just hadn’t acctualy thought about it till now.

  19. oh the horror

    i agree, it’s nice to be out of the evil place called middle school. It was a truly evil place. Where some of the girls couldn’t wait to rip your eyes out. I am sure glad I never have to repeat it ever again.

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