When I was in junior high and high school, my friends and I used to pass a lot of notes. I know I still have them somewhere because I never throw anything away. Throughout my teen years, I also kept a journal. I usually wrote in black-and-white composition books. Still, it's been a few years since I have seen what I'd like to call the Rachael archives.
The recently published "The Notebook Girls" (Warner Books, $22.95), a real diary kept by four high school friends, really reminds me of my past. The book even has a cover that looks like a composition book.
"The Notebook Girls" was written by Julia Baskin, Lindsey Newman, Sophie Pollitt-Cohen and Courtney Toombs. The four girls were freshmen at Stuyvesant High School in New York when they started keeping a shared journal. Each one would write something in it, then pass the notebook along to the next.
The book is a recreation of their high school journal. I can only imagine that the published version of the diary remains faithful to the original. First of all, the whole thing is handwritten in four different styles. Secondly, the book includes photographs that look like they were cut out and glued in and lots of little ink drawings.
Last, but not least, the girls' words don't seem censored at all. There's plenty of references to sex, drinking and drugs. These are slightly disturbing since the girls were pretty young when they started writing. As far as I can tell, though, "The Notebook Girls" seems to depict a high school world that's pretty realistic.
It was sometimes hard for me to follow "The Notebook Girls," since the book doesn't have a clear narrative. But that makes sense because diaries don't usually follow a story outline. The handwritten entries could also be difficult to decipher at times.
Still, I really admire the girls, who are all now freshmen in college, for sharing their personal and intimate writings. I really don't think I'd want people reading my notes from high school or flipping through my handwritten composition books. Luckily, if I don't know exactly where the Rachael archives are, the chances of someone else discovering them are pretty slim. And that's a good thing.
If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.