The Aqua Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town

( 11 )

Overview

Jennifer Niven quit her job as a television producer to write the true story of a doomed 1913 Arctic expedition in her first book, The Ice Master, which was named one of the top ten nonfiction books by Entertainment Weekly, and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. She received high praise for her follow- up arctic adventure, Ada Blackjack, which detailed the life of one woman who overcame enormous odds to survive. Now, Niven tells a survival tale of a different kind; her own thrilling, excruciating, ...

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The Aqua Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town

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Overview

Jennifer Niven quit her job as a television producer to write the true story of a doomed 1913 Arctic expedition in her first book, The Ice Master, which was named one of the top ten nonfiction books by Entertainment Weekly, and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. She received high praise for her follow- up arctic adventure, Ada Blackjack, which detailed the life of one woman who overcame enormous odds to survive. Now, Niven tells a survival tale of a different kind; her own thrilling, excruciating, amazing, and utterly unforgettable adventure in a midwestern high school during the 1980s.

Richmond, Indiana, was a place where people knew their neighbors and went to church on Sundays. It also had only one high school with 2,500 students, and for both the students and the townspeople, it was the center of the universe. In The Aqua-Net Diaries, Niven takes readers through her adolescent years in full, glorious—and hilarious—detail, sharing awkward moments from the first day of school, to driver’s ed, and her first love, against a backdrop of bad 1980s fashion and big hair. Like Chuck Klosterman in Fargo Rock City, Niven’s talented voice perfectly captures the pain, joy, and shame of going through adolescence in America’s heartland, making a funny, touching, and universal experience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416954293
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 2/2/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 319
  • Sales rank: 1,192,184
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Niven

Jennifer Niven divides her time between Atlanta (where she was named one of Jezebel Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People) and Los Angeles (where her film Velva Jean Learns to Drive won an Emmy. Jennifer’s previous book, Ada Blackjack, was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer studies belly dancing, yoga, and electric guitar and explores her inner bombshell. The author of the critically acclaimed Arctic exploration books The Ice Master and Ada Blackjack tackles her most harrowing expedition of all: high school. The Aqua-Net® Diaries Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town Jennifer Niven 19

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A hilarious and touching trip back to high school

    If the names Charlie Townsend and Kelly Garrett mean anything to you, if you can picture the lead singer from Wham!, if you have pulled on a pair of leg warmers or rolled on thick layers of Bonne Bell, then allow me to introduce you to your new BFF, The Aqua Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town. Award-winning author Jennifer Niven has written a memoir that brings readers back to the 1980s, plunks us down in her Midwestern high school and delights us with the trials and tribulations of coming of age as a small town girl with big city dreams. As Niven writes, "Life was innocent, good. There was angst, but it mostly involved having a bad hair day, finding the next party, worrying about saying and doing the right thing, wrestling with geometric theorems, trying not to die of boredom, and wanting to be noticed by the one boy we all loved more than anything.It was a time when anything was possible."

    Readers profit from Niven's propensity to be a pack rat. Amazingly, she has saved notes passed during class as well as journal entries, poems, songs and novellas she wrote, and even transcripts of phone conversations. The inclusion of these rare fossils of adolescent revelry and angst add immeasurable verity to her memoir. Down to the smallest detail - such as her pre-teen description of her canopy bed "with removable posts on top that make really good microphones" - Niven gifts readers with long-forgotten artifacts of teenage life. And she presents it all with laugh-out-loud, acerbic wit that brings to mind the style of David Sedaris. "I was the All-American girl living in the All-American City. But from the moment we moved to Richmond, I knew I would get out one day and go someplace bigger and faster, someplace where wild hogs didn't roam the streets and where men didn't eat the bark off trees."

    The Aqua Net Diaries guides readers in a look back on carefree days when complicated meant passing notes under the steely gaze of the Russian Lit. teacher and the worst day ever was reading "Jennifer McJunkin is a ho bag" on the bathroom stall. A time before life's tangible disappointments began to carve away at the person you thought you would become. A time when you might still become a rock star. The author presents the memories of her desperate yearning to escape this prototypical (aka, boring) Midwestern high school through the lens of a sentimental adult with equal yearning to return to the luxurious selfishness and complex simplicity of teenage life. Niven captures this loves-me, loves-me-not juxtaposition with perfect pitch.

    Quill says: Take a hilarious and touching trip back to high school in the smart and sassy hands of Jennifer Niven!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Tigrpug

    Setttles down and rests.

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  • Posted November 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Aqua Net Diaries

    Jennifer Nevins' memoir takes us back to high school in the 80s. Although, I am older am high school, years were in the 70s, it is interesting to see that the high school experience is not all the same for us. Jennifer believes that she Is not part of the popular crowd but an outsider. I don't sense that. It is also remarkable how she kept letters and notes from that period to help create the stories of her youth. Contacting old school chums, to interview for the book also makes me believe that high school was a big and important part of her life. But it was still high school, however ordinary it may have been. She is a very good writer but reading this memoir didn't leave any long lasting impression.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    The every person story of high school.

    The universal experience of high school can be found in this literary offering. Whether you are the camillian who can float between social classes, the jock, the homecoming queen and her court, the AV nerds, the intellectuals, or the hoods you can hear part of your story told in this book.
    I loved that Jennifer was trusted enough that all of her classmates allowed her to use their real names. I am from this small town and was blissfully taken back to the haunts of my youth while reading. Many of the family names evoked treasured memories.
    This would be a great book for a parent and child to read and discuss. For instance, the topic of social class in high school is no predictor of future success. Dreams can come true with hard work determination and persistence, regardless of what a guidance counselor may say. Compare and contrast being gay in high school today and in the parents day? True friendship isn't always smooth sailing.

    Thank you Jennifer for the cruise down memory lane. P.S. Greenville, Ohio was the best cruising spot within 50 miles in 1983!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Humm....

    The life of an American high school student and seemlingly written by one. A detailed schedule of high school life with minimal analysis, reflection, and synthesis.

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    Posted January 14, 2011

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    Posted August 9, 2010

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    Posted February 20, 2012

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    Posted May 16, 2010

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    Posted May 12, 2010

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    Posted October 17, 2010

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