Thursday, June 9, 2011

#31 - The Only Girl in the Car by Kathy Dobie

Kathy Dobie was a major slut, or so they say. Oh don't get me wrong, she totally had all the hallmarks of slutty behaviour. Provocative clothing, random and frequent sex, no serious relationships. However, I hardly think a 14 year old can ever be truly called a slut. Or any girl or woman for that matter.

Kathy was born the eldest girl in a family of six kids. The family is pretty normal, in fact, just a little bit better than normal. All of the kids have their own chores to do, they go on family picnics and have lively dinner conversations. They are, as happy as a family can be. And Kathy is a good girl. Until she turns 14, and realizes the power her nubile body has over dirty old men (and teenagers).

After a few trysts with older men (and losing her virginity to a 30 something loser), Kathy finds what she thought she needed by hanging out at the local youth center, where a lot of the rougher boys (and girls) hung out. However, she was never a part of the crowd of girls. It was always about her and "her" boys. She thinks she is happy, and thinks she has the genuine affection of the boys that she does stuff with, but an incident with boyS, in a car, opens her eyes and also turns her into an outcast and labelled a slut.

I live in a very Catholic and conservative country. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, my country is the only state outside the Vatican that does not allow divorce. Anyway, point is, I was never a good girl. In fact, I might have been relatively "slutty" in my teens, but I cannot imagine engaging in the level of promiscuous behavior and risk taking that Kathy did. It pains me and worries me that kids are being so unsafe. The author looks into a few things which might have led to her behaviour, but doesn't really dwell on it. She just tells us what she did, how she felt, and how it affected her.

After the incident in the car, she turns her life around in the totally opposite direction, being a sexless, humorless, Ayn Rand fanatic. She never really recovers and becomes herself until she goes off to college and leaves her life behind.

I really liked this coming of age memoir. Her early childhood memories are very warm, especially the part about loving her baby brother so much, and finally having somebody that she could hug and kiss and touch and love so completely. The later parts were heartbreaking, reading about a young girl being sexualized far before she is ready. And how badly some people treated her because she was seen as loose.

What I also could not believe was that, really? Old guys go out of their way to bed a kid who is so obviously a kid? Man, there are a lot of sorta-pedophiles over there.

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