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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

Popularity Rehash

I had a dream about high school last night, that I was back in it. The reason, no doubt, is a review of Schooled that popped up this week, one that was quite critical of my story. I'm a big girl and can handle it just fine, and really the part of her review that I should focus on is the part that said she thoroughly enjoyed my writing and would buy any book I wrote (hard to imagine asking more from a reader), and I must further state here that I am so grateful for book reviewers in general; that they are willing to read the copies I send out and post their thoughtful and honest reactions. As an author, I truly appreciate the feedback.

The writer of this review said it was hard to hear me complain about being unpopular when it seemed like I had it all. And I've been thinking about this, because she isn't the first person to throw me a "You weren't popular? It sounds like you were" kind of comment. While I might argue that valedictorian and leads in the school musicals do nothing whatsoever to make a person popular, I do see her point. I had so many advantages and opportunities in those years that I suppose I shouldn't have complained about anything, ever. But as I tried to point out in the "On Popularity" section of the book, there is a difference between being successful and being popular. Advantages and opportunities aside, I was lonely. I remember begging the front office staff to let me have my own locker in high school because I had no one to share with. So the point of the book is not to pass myself off as a tragic figure (because I never was one), but rather to examine how even in the midst of academic success, all the average girl really cares about while in school is fitting in, having friends, and being perceived as worthy of the hallways' elite.

Bottom line: I get this reviewer's beef, I do. It could be easy to read my book and end up feeling frustrated that I still had the nerve to complain about anything, given my academic success and the admittedly charmed life I led. And had I not been inflicted with a warped adolescent brain back then, I might have been able to see that at the time and just appreciated this success instead of wish for the one thing I didn't have, which was acceptance by the popular kids. Because in the end popularity makes no difference. Although if that's the case, I wonder why I had my own locker even in my dream last night. Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I haven't come very far after all. Maybe I still crave that acceptance. Maybe I always will.

 

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