the best friends you’ll never have

Inspired by Alula’s hilarious/thoughtful assessment on the boards, I recently purchased Ann M. Martin’s biography (written by the oddly-named Margot Becker R.) off of Amazon for exactly 1 cent. It arrived today, and since I am so smart and a fast reader, I read it one sitting.

If you have never read it before, you really should. The author mentions several times that Ann is a real 9-1-1, as Sheila MacGregor would say. However, looking at the evidence provided in the books, everything else, well, points to the contrary. Perhaps Ann is just not photogenic–I myself fall into this category–but ummmm. Sorry. Don’t see it. Basically, this whole book is written to show How Wonderful Ann Is and How Perfect She Is. Ann always got good grades and is really organized and gets up early and never forgets anyone’s birthday, and if the birthday-person is a child, she will make a lovely handmade outfit for the child to wear. It reads more like a biography of say, Lenin or Chairman Mao written at the height of their importance to their respective Communist societies than a biography of a children’s book author.

The best part of the book, however, is the quote from Paula Danziger:

[Ann] has a real heart for things. She cares. She’s a good friend to call when I’m having problems with dating, hair, clothing choices, and other world-shattering issues, like dust in my contact lenses. I can also count on her to call me when she’s terrified of a spider she’s found in her house, when her cats do something she thinks is funny, and when she wants to tell me about an I Love Lucy episode she’s seen for the eightieth time.

This quote made me really sad Paula died, because she always seemed like such a funny, interesting person and I always loved her books and am sad there will not be any more. I also always knew that Ann and Paula were friends, but I didn’t know that they were this close. Paula’s quote is, I think, the absolute number one most real thing in the book. It is exactly how I imagine being friends with Ann would be like.

There are two things the book does not mention at all, and they are: 1)wild n crazy times 2)romantic entanglement. Although it does mention that Ann became really good friends with someone on Fire Island. This woman is never mentioned again in the biography. Anyway, #1 makes sense because Ann doesn’t have a spleen, which makes drinking and drugging difficult. Thus, for Ann a wild night of partying during her college days was a half gallon of ice cream from Friendly’s and the Exorcist on the tv.

Basically, Ann seems like a sweet, slightly boring person and a really good friend. But this biography tries to make her seem like she is the Ideal Human. So yes, you should read it immediately, since this makes it pretty hilarious.

Edit: I wrote “Margot Kidder R.” for some reason, when it is really Margot Becker R. Margot Kidder is a Canadian actress who used to date Pierre Trudeau. She has never written an Ann M. Martin biography. Sorry for the confusion.

7 Responses To This Post

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chicken_queen said, December 4th, 2007 at 8:26 pm

I have it, and have never bothered to pick it up and read it. Hmm.

bbb said, December 4th, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Margot Kidder R. Hehe. :)

Penny said, December 4th, 2007 at 10:26 pm

I have it. I have not yet read either copy. I did not purposely buy two copies.

Margot Kidder – wasn’t she Lois Lane? LoL.

And WHAT?? Paula Danziger DIED?? That’s so sad :(

myu said, December 5th, 2007 at 4:38 pm

“Thus, for Ann a wild night of partying during her college days was a half gallon of ice cream from Friendly‚Äôs and the Exorcist on the tv.”

I’m laughing in a rather smug, superior manner. I’m also remembering that Sheila and Co.’s catchphrase was changed to ‘nine-nine-nine’ in the UK books. The US version still sounds odd to me, even though I know it’s the original.

greer said, December 5th, 2007 at 8:18 pm

@Penny: yeah, I know. I was majorly bummed when I found out. She died in 2004.

annfan said, April 2nd, 2008 at 1:22 am

I read that biography cover to cover when I was 12 and dammit, the chapter on Ann’s experience at college made an impression on me because 8 years later, I became a student at Ann’s alma mater, Smith. I do believe I got suckered in Ann’s description of Smith as one big slumber party. Ann was at Smith during a tumultuous time in the college’s history. She was hiding in the library studying while the women of color (highest number enrolled in the college’s history even to the present) were very militant and aggressive in advancing the rights of women and minorities. Her biography is super sanitized and omits any reference to this.

Also when I was 12, I thought it was funny how the biography didn’t mention anything about Ann and starting a family. She was obviously crazy about kids. But there were no references to boyfriends (just a prom date who was very shy). I finally dug it up somewhere that Ann is openly gay last year. Imagine what discussion about homosexuality would’ve done to the BSC world!!

Kylie90210 said, May 28th, 2008 at 1:07 am

Ann is gay and Paula dead? The things you never knew…

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