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How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day
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How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day

4.3 3
by Ann Hodgman
 

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Ann Hodgman is a funny lady. In this book, she explains how she got that way. But the book only goes up through sixth grade.

After that, her life became so embarrassing that writing it down would have caused the pages to burst into flames.

Overview

Ann Hodgman is a funny lady. In this book, she explains how she got that way. But the book only goes up through sixth grade.

After that, her life became so embarrassing that writing it down would have caused the pages to burst into flames.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Filled with 1960s and '70s nostalgia and acerbic humor, Hodgman's (The House of a Million Pets) anecdotal, free-association autobiography laces tales of her early childhood in Rochester, N.Y., with references to her adult years and parenting her own children. She reminisces about family, playmates, and school, as well as her various likes (reading ranks high on the list, and a lively chapter covers her girlhood affinity for miniature cameras, SuperBalls, and Band-Aids) and dislikes. Even though the target audience won't necessarily recognize references to Mighty Mouse or The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Hodgman's longings, insecurities, and passions are universal, from her timidity regarding parties ("I suddenly discovered that I was the type of slumber-party guest who says, ‘Come on, guys. Isn't it time we got some shut-eye?' ") to dreaded elementary-school gym classes and the naming of beloved toys ("Leprosy... is a disease, but I didn't know that"). And while some middle-graders may find that Hodgman too often veers into minutiae, the book's strength lies in her blistering sense of humor and her refusal to talk down to readers. Ages 8–12. (May)
From the Publisher

“Her witty prose has the right balance of nostalgia and self-deprecation.” —School Library Journal

“In these light and funny pages, grownup Ann looks back with unmerciful self-deprecation on herself as she was in the early 1960s, and the result is a book that children ages 8-14 can enjoy as a kind of genial historical artifact and that their parents can read with affectionate winces at the quirks and obsessions of long-ago childhood.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Hodgman's longings, insecurities, and passions are universal…the book's strength lies in her blistering sense of humor and her refusal to talk down to readers.” —Publishers Weekly

“Rueful, funny and nostalgic…” —Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
Billed as a "true story" this book is prefaced with a few pages about how it is not a regular book. That in itself is enticing for readers, as is the idea that youngsters can relate to being embarrassed since it is a big deal to them. In this book, the author weaves words into various episodes from her life in the 1950s as she offers kids a good grasp of what life was like during that period. Intrigue occurs when she talks about her family background as well as when she describes an incident in which she shoplifted from a local store. Vignettes about simple day to day events are made interesting by the accompaniment of black and white 50s photos of the author. Even the episode titles draw in the reader. Kids will like titles such as "My Animals—Live, Dead, and Stuffed" and "Do You Like Me Yet?" Some simple topics include those about underpants, band-aids, a miniature camera, and a geode. This easy-to-read book can be read in bits and pieces or as a whole. It makes a good supplement to history and family tree lessons and would make a good read when a group of friends get together. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Hodgman has written a humorous memoir of her childhood up to the sixth grade. The book is a collection of "life stories" that vary in length, and, as she states, the chapters need not be read in sequence. Her witty prose has the right balance of nostalgia and self-deprecation. Whether she is describing the time she first heard her kindergarten teacher read "Hansel and Gretel" and hid in the coat closet, or she is blaming the demise of a plastic kiddie pool on a two-and-a-half-year-old neighbor, her text transports readers right to the scene. Photos of the author and her family, plus other illustrations, appear throughout. As delightful as the memoir is, however, it may resonate much more with the intended audience's parents (and grandparents). Hodgman seems to acknowledge this when she says, "Yes, I realize 1956 sounds like a fake year to you, but being born in the 1990s and 2000s sounds fake to me."—Elaine Baran Black, Georgia Public Library Service, Atlanta
Kirkus Reviews
Hodgman looks back humorously at her 1960s childhood in the Rochester, N.Y., area, recalling incidents that pained her at the time or seem embarrassing in retrospect. There was the way she bragged about her reading before she knew better, the fourth-grade nickname (Hampton Schnoz) bestowed by a classmate she'd asked about her appearance and the total lack of athletic ability that left her at the bottom of the climbing ropes. She includes poems from her "bird sequence," written in third grade.Not all events are mortifying. Some just reflect what it was like to be young at the time. There is the longed-for Petunia the Climbing Skunk from F.A.O. Schwartz that she didn't get for Christmas, a lovely description of birthday-party entertainments that includes Spiderweb and the Kim Game and the scary school-bus driver who threatened his misbehaving passengers with a rifle. Some anecdotes are very short; others go on for several pages. Occasional photographs of herself and her husband, as well as both their families back to their grandparents, will help readers picture these children from long ago. There is no hint of the larger political turmoil of the time. Rueful, funny and nostalgic, this will ring true to parents and grandparents and may be even more appealing to them than to a child readership—whose impression of the 1960s will be very different.(Memoir. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805087055
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
05/10/2011
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
776,284
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
NC900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

HOW TO DIE OF EMBARRASSMENT

The Rules of This BOOK

This isn't a regular book. You don't have to read the chapters in order. As a matter of fact, they're not even exactly chapters. Some of them are so short that they're really more like paragraphs, or what magazine editors call "boxes." Some are so short that you would need a microscope to see them.

After all, it's not as if I had a really eventful childhood. I wasn't the type of kid people looked at and said, "She's going to be the first woman president." My life just went along, probably the way yours does. So what am I going to do for a book? Write things like "Then, next year, I was in third grade"? I don't want to giveyou my whole life story! I just want to give you some little life stories! I want to give you the, you know, meat of the sandwich, not the boring old bread. So if you want to find out dates and history and things, you'll have to wait until I die and then read my autobiography. Which I won't be writing, because it would be too boring. And also because I'll be dead.

Some of the names in this book are real, and some are fake. I bet you can guess which kind Miss Stinkyface is. (Real.) If I was describing something that might embarrass people I liked, or might make them feel bad, I didn't want to use real names. On the other hand, I figured it was okay to use real names when I wasn't talking about anything bad. On the third hand, I didn't want to use real names even for people I hated, because what if they turned nice later on? Or got mad and came after me?

Sometimes, just to keep things interesting, I used a person's real name in one part of the book and his or her fake name in another.

This book only goes up through sixth grade. After that, my life became so embarrassing that writing it down would have caused the pages to burst into flames. Like what about the time I wore a fake-leather pantsuit and big Pilgrim-looking shoes and a ruffled shirt to the mall in seventh grade, and people kept staring at me, and I finally called my mother to bring me some regularclothes to change into in the car? I still live in dread that someday, a person from my teenage past will threaten to tell my husband and kids alllllllllllllll about what I used to be like. If that happens, there won't be any point in my paying the blackmailer. I'll just have to change my name and move away.

Text copyright © 2011 by Ann Hodgman

Meet the Author

Ann Hodgman lives in Washington, Connecticut with her husband, the writer David Owen, and one million pets.

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How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful. Made me lol!!!!
Hector Narvaez More than 1 year ago
Great book!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book looks good