Monday, August 15, 2011

David Cassidy, Allison Pearson, "I Think I love you", and teen idols

I finished the book finally, and I still think Susan's review is a pretty good one. As I said in my previous blog post I was too young to IDOLIZE David Cassidy. I knew who he was, I listened to his music, but I was definitely more of a fan of Shaun Cassidy and the "Da Doo Ron Ron", Donny and Marie Osmond, and even John Denver. I did actually own this album:

Shaun Cassidy (album)Image via Wikipedia

So anyway, Susan Coventry says on her blog "ReadingWorld":
"Part one revolves around David Cassidy to such a degree that, well, I almost gave up on the book. I understand that the obsessiveness of Petra’s tween love was important for the whole theme, but I found that I didn’t particularly enjoy obsessing over David Cassidy. Plus, the whole mean-girl genre for tweens is getting a lot of attention currently, and I don’t really need to be reading that much of it. Overall, I found the thirteen-year-old Petra to be relatively uninteresting.

However, Bill amused me, and I did want to know what was going to happen with him. That kept me reading on until we shifted gears to 1998. At that point, I became more interested in the story."


This was very much my experience as well. I actually skipped a few pages of part one because I was so bored with the description and build up of Petra and Sharon's life. Once I did get to the second part I felt disappointed. Susan goes on in her blog to be satisfied with the book, but I felt let down. I felt like Part two was rushed. I wanted to know more about Bill. I wanted to see more of Bill and Petra together. We don't get that though. Ms. Pearson is years late in getting this book done and I felt like she just rushed through the second part to finish it. I personally would have preferred less in Part One, and more in Part Two. So to me the book became rather a waste of time.

Except....... except it got me thinking about "teen idols". I was too young to idolize David Cassidy. He was my mother's age after all. Who were the idols of my friends? Did we even HAVE idols? MTV was born in 1982. "Video killed the radio star" as the song goes. Well.. 1982 was a busy year for me. My mother and step-father split up that year. I changed schools twice, moved a few times, and watched my mother start dating. Life was changing, and it was changing fast. I even met the boy who would be my first boyfriend. We went through puberty together. I didn't need to idolize. I missed that part of innocence. So I was curious about idols and I went digging.

Naturally I didn't need to dig far. Like the book review, teen idols have already been written about. Turns out the teen idols for me were supposed to be "The Brat Pack". Wikipedia says so, so it must be true.

Wikipedia says: "The teen idol is primarily a phenomenon of 20th century mass communication.".
In the 1970s:
"After Davy Jones came Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. They held the title of Teen Idols from the late 1960s til the mid 1970s. Both Sherman and Cassidy were actors on television and musicians in the pop-rock category at the time. Musical series such as Cassidy's The Partridge Family, the animated series The Archie Show, and (to a lesser extent) The Brady Bunch integrated television and teen-pop music to significant success during this time frame.
One of the features of many teen idols is that their fans (and, in some cases, the musicians themselves) tend to develop a distaste for the music once they become adults, and it is not much listened to by adults, except for nostalgia: the legacy of bubblegum pop. Performers in this category would include Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Donny Osmond, Tony DeFranco, and The Bay City Rollers. Even modern classic hits and oldies outlets, which cover this time period, rarely play cuts from the teen idols of the era, with the exception of Michael Jackson, who began his career as a teen idol but whose career eventually evolved far beyond the limitations of that description and into superstardom."

And then by the time I'm in my pre-teens and teens:
"In the mid 1980s there was a group of young actors called The Brat Pack, the whole group collectively and separately became teen idols. There was Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. They starred in many coming of age films together in some fashion and became incredibly popular without being musicians.

Actors Corey Feldman and Corey Haim became teen idols during the later part of the 1980s with films The Goonies and together The Lost Boys and License to Drive among other films. They were dubbed "the two Coreys". Before Corey Haim's death in 2010, they did a reality TV show for two seasons (2007-08) on A&E named The Two Coreys after their 1980s moniker.

Australian/American singer/actor Rick Springfield was regarded as a teen idol in the 1980s with such hits as "Jessie's Girl" and "Don't Talk to Strangers". The Grammy Award winning musician Springfield was known for playing Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime drama General Hospital. He originated the character from 1981-1983. He left acting after his music career took off."

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Right! Who could forget "Jessie's Girl"? I had friends on the school bus who swooned over Rick Springfield, but I didn't really "get it" although I learned the words.  You can click on the link about the Brat Pack if you like.

So anyway, I didn't really have a teen idol.  I think most of the teen idols of my generation were actors/actresses, and maybe MTV stars. It is interesting that teen idols are an "invention of mass communication". I can see how that is true. Now with social networking fans have more access to celebrities than ever before. With Facebook and Twitter we can "connect" to those idols by simply putting an "@" at the beginning of a message. I know it's true. I've done it with writers before.

This segways into a conversation about marketing and advertising. .. of people. David Cassidy gained fame as "Keith Partridge" and shot up to super-stardom very quickly. Then he didn't want to be "Keith" anymore and has had a hard time getting out of it. I think even to this day that is the case.  I'd almost wonder what he thought of the book that Allison wrote except I read the notes at the end. Susan Coventry was right. It really is a fictionalized memoir.  Allison did finally get to meet Cassidy when she was older. She found out that brown never was his favorite color.

 While the book fell flat for me, it was fun spending a few days looking up all this stuff. I had kind of forgotten about most of it in the last 10-15 years (since I left that job where I got paid to watch "The Partridge Family" every weekend).

Anyway you can read more on David Cassidy if you want. There is plenty online. Enjoy!!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

What I'm reading now- Allison Pearson, "I Think I love you"

I was browsing the music books in the stacks of the UMass Amherst Library and I came across the book "I Think I Love You" by Allison Pearson. "Wow!" I thought, "A book about idolizing a celebrity who is still alive!" Somehow you know most of these books about idols are usually about dead idols like "The Beatles" or Elvis. So I checked out the book and brought it home. It sat in the corner with it's pink cover (UMass doesn't keep the book jackets) for a long time. Now finally I am reading it. This is not the kind of book I "normally" read. Ha, I've said that before too, haven't I? The book is split into two parts. The first part is around 1974 when David Cassidy is a super-star worldwide. The second part is set in late 1990s.

I was three years old in 1974. When I was a little older, but not much, somewhere in the 7-10 year old range I did have David Cassidy albums, Shaun Cassidy albums, and Donny and Marie Osmond albums and I loved them but I was not a teen. By the time I was a teen these idols were a thing of the past. When I was a teen MTV had just been invented (I was 11 in 1982).

Skip forward a whole lot of years to the late 90s (when the 2nd half of the book takes place) and I end up with a job for five years working with a guy who is stuck in the 1970s mentally. He loves Elvis, Karen Carpenter, the Red Sox blowing the World Series, and The Partridge Family. Thanks to this guy I got a pretty good dose of David Cassidy and that whole decade that I missed because I was just a little too young.

I'm not quite done with the book so I'm not ready to review it, however I have been doing a little research. Thanks to the internet it feels like everything has already been said before.

Allison Pearson is on Twitter and Facebook. Her Facebook page has over 400 likes and those fans like her book and David Cassidy and are happy to tell all about it.

Since the book has been out for a while there are a lot of reviews. It's hard to find anything negative although I get the feeling that not everyone on earth likes the book or likes the author. She was in trouble with her contract when she wrote it. Due to clinical depression the book came out several years later than it was supposed to. There are a lot of positive reviews and other write-ups though. It might be hard for me to find something new to say. While I am still pondering my thoughts and reading the last of the book, here are some other words about it:

From GazetteNet and the Philadelphia Inquirer:

From NPR, more about the author than the book:

From the New York Times (one of my favorite places for reviews):

Here's some comments about the author from the UK:

I found a couple of good blog entries too. Both of these I can relate to.:

I like that second entry the best of all of these links. Susan has done a great job with it.

I'll try to think of more to say when I'm actually done reading and I don't have a five year old sleeping on my chest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just stuff- anniversary and new car etc

On Monday we became a two-car family. For the first time in our relationship we have two cars. We ended up with a 2008 Honda CR-V. We're not using it on a daily basis yet, but we knew we would need it by the first of September. We've survived a lot in the last nine years, but surviving the public school system will be a new challenge.

On Tuesday we celebrated our wedding anniversary. "Celebrated" might be a stretch. The three of us went out to eat at Red Robin. I gave him a card and a ticket to the movies. A ticket, not two because I rarely go to the theater anyway, and because the ticket was free. Something I got for giving blood last week.

With all of the running around stuff with getting the car and everything I haven't gotten my usual exercise and I've been eating out too much. The scales verified that this morning so I am back up a little bit. Still hovering just under the 200 pound mark, and still a long way to go. I need to break out of this pattern but I haven't figured out how. I seem to be going between 196-199 for the most part, and I'm still trying to get down to 180 or lower.

Anyway, we are counting down the last few days or preschool too. August 19th will be the last day. Then she will have a week off before starting kindergarten.

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