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Popular : A Memoir : Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek  - Maya Van Wagenen

Popular : A Memoir

Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

Paperback

Published: 15th April 2014
For Ages: 12+ years old
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A true story

'School is the armpit of life - and my school is no exception.'

From hair-dos and girdles to pearls and posture, Maya does whatever Betty says - no matter how difficult or embarrassing.

When Maya Van Wagenen finds a 1950s Guide to Popularity she embarks on a unique social experiment: for one school year she follows the advice of its author, teen model Betty Cornell.

She's determined to see her experiment through, for better or worse.

Does it work? You decide.

A touchingly honest and candidly hysterical memoir from one of Time's most influential teens of 2013.

About the Author

Maya Van Wagenen is fifteen years old. When she was eleven, her family moved to Brownsville, Texas, the setting of Popular. When not hunched over a desktop writing, Maya enjoys reading, British television, and chocolate. She now lives with her parents and two siblings in rural Georgia. She is a sophomore in high school but still shares a room with her sixth-grade brother. Remarkably, they have not yet killed each other.

Everyone's happiness project looks different, and I was utterly charmed by Maya Van Wagenen's honest, funny, and thought-provoking account of her efforts to become 'popular'. -- Gretchen Rubin, #1 bestselling author of The Happiness Project Maya Van Waganen's memoir, POPULAR, would have been wonderful to read as a kid, and so reassuring to Nerdy Teenage Me. Her year-long experiment in popularity is timeless; the intelligent and humane way she gets to the heart of the matter is uniquely her. Funny, determined, and wry, Van Wagenan has written a wise, heartfelt guide for other kids eager to keep up. -- Rachel Hartman, NYT bestselling author of Seraphina Geeky and dorky, but never wimpy, Maya Van Wagenen is as powerful and honest as she is quirky and funny-and startlingly gifted. She's the real deal, folks, a teenage John Green for the next generation. Stunning. -- Margaret Stohl, bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series A talented writer, she's funny, thoughtful and self-effacing ... Teens will readily identify with her Kirkus Popular is wonderful. It is charming, touching, entertaining - and brought back a lot of memories about my own high school anxieties. I will be saving my copy to give to my daughter when she is a little older -- Jo Elvin Glamour

Introduction

Hi!

I'm Betty Cornell!

I wrote Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide in 1951. I was twenty-four. Pedal pushers were the hottest fashion trend. They hit just below the knee and were the shortest shorts around. Pleated skirts had hemlines that often fell to the ankle, and many girls knit crewneck sweaters themselves, which were all the rage. Miniskirts were still more than a decade away, and skinny jeans and crop tops were unheard of.

If you wanted a change for your hair, you got a reverse perm at the beauty salon. (There were no boxes of hair color at the drugstore, because no one dyed their hair!) To style my hair, each evening I would pin it up in rag curlers, stuffed with Kleenex to give more volume, go to bed, and wake up in the morning with the perfect pageboy hairstyle.

But today, things have changed. I walk around town and see hair in hues of blues and pinks and the fashions are more revealing. While I have witnessed many fashion trends that were considerably less modest than what I wore growing up, I have been around long enough to recognize that a huge part of fashion is pushing the limits of the past. The more things have changed, it is interesting that the core motivation to outdo the previous generation clearly remains the same, just as it was when I wrote my book. It is comforting for me to know that even though I am no longer a prominent part of the fashion world, the end goal is still the same even if the product is not.

My most vivid memories of publishing my Teen-Age Popularity Guide are of how flattered I felt whenever I received letters from teenagers telling me how much they had learned by reading my book. They told me about their clothes, their hair, and their parties—I loved hearing from them.

However, I was surprised many years later by another letter my book brought me. And this time, it was by e-mail and turned out to be the most heartwarming and profound. It came from Maya Van Wagenen in April of 2012, and she told me that I had changed her life! She had used my book for tips and hints on how to deal with the challenges she was facing in school. Remarkably she used advice I wrote decades ago and applied it in today's world. I was so delighted to know that my book had withstood the test of time and was still providing help to teenagers.

When I finished reading Maya's book—this book you are about to read, too—I felt a cascade of feelings: pride, love, satisfaction, and happy memories. It amazed me to see Maya tell her tale with such knowledge, poise, and grace. Over the years, I have seen many good grooming and fashion trends come and go and, on rare occasion, return years later with modifications to fit the new generation's taste. But I never thought when I was writing my book that the advice I offered would be made relevant sixty years later through the eyes of a new, young writer.

I began my career as a model and then found great success as an author. Maya is starting her career as an author, but she is already a model of courage and confidence for her generation and generations to come.

Betty Cornell

ISBN: 9780141353258
ISBN-10: 0141353252
Audience: Children
For Ages: 12+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 15th April 2014
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.19