Sunday, July 11, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side: Eat Pizza

I've been taking some whacks at expanding and developing my Children's Literature Association conference paper on redemption through the rural in the 1950s teen novels of Rosamund DuJardin. So I've been deep in an orgy of reading DuJardin: from Double Date, Double Feature, and Double Wedding, I turned to the Marcy Rhodes books (Wait for Marcy, Marcy Catches Up, A Man for Marcy, Senior Prom) and the Tobey Heydon books (Practically Seventeen, Class Ring, Boy Trouble, The Real Thing, Wedding in the Family, and One of the Crowd).

One thing I learned from these books is that a girl is always going to end up with the boy who drives an old jalopy that he bought with his own hard-earned money and fixed up himself, rather than the boy (even a very pleasant boy) who drives a "smooth" convertible given to him as a present from his parents.

Another, more surprising thing, that I learned, is that the wild boy who wants to stay out ALL NIGHT on prom night is also going to introduce the girl to wild new foods, such as: pizza.

In Senior Prom (1957), Bruce Douglas, who tries to kiss Marcy on THE VERY FIRST DATE, is crazy about pizza and introduces Marcy to this new experience. When they get to Tony's pizzeria, Marcy finds that "Everyone seemed to be eating wedges of what looked to Marcy like big, golden yellow pancakes, with catchup or something tomato-y on top."

"Is that it?" Marcy asks Bruce.

Indeed it is. But Bruce reassures her: "We'll just order a plain one this first time. You have to sort of work up to the really fancy concoctions."

So: wild, dangerous boys eat pizza. And really wild, dangerous boys eat pizza with TOPPINGS.


  1. I suppose choosing a boyfriend was simpler back in the 1950s. Nowadays girls must choose between a vampire and a ware-wolf. (The vampire must be careful to avoid garlic on his pizza.)

    Having not read any of these teen romance books, I wonder to what degree the basic boyfriend dilemma remains consistent from the 1950s to now.

  2. Scott, I'm grinning from ear to ear from the pizza advice for the vampire. :) I have to admit to having bailed on the TWILIGHT series before the werewolf guy became a serious contender - book one was enough for me. I guess I'm basically a 1950s girl.

  3. You speak of the books I read as a middle schooler (called 6th grade at the time!), although I was not quite a teen in the 50s. Still, I keep believing that in spite of the differences from modern YAs, the "basic boyfriend dilemma", as Scott says, is the same. I remember seeing those books in the library and a chill would go through me - big girl books! When would the librarian let me take them out????

  4. Thank you. This is so funny. It sent me to bed with a laugh.