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‘Paperback Crush’ explores how books from girlhood live on in our psyches

Gaby Moss has always been a casual nostalgia junkie. But in the summer of 2016, that passing affinity grew exponentially.

It had been a rough summer. She was personally exhausted, and in her job as an editor at the women’s online media company, Bustle, she found herself burning out in the presidential news cycle, too. She turned to eBay for solace, bidding $50 on a crate of Sweet Valley High books.

She read them all. Then she bought more. Then she read those.

It became a cycle. And then it became something bigger: A lens through which to examine the powers that had shaped her very womanhood. And the jumping off point for her new book, which does just that.

“As I ripped through those books, I found more than nostalgia — though Jesus H. Wakefield, did I find nostalgia,” Moss writes in the introduction to her new book, Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of ‘80s and ‘90s Teen Fiction. “But I also found a record of my adolescent expectations, of the idea about romance and womanhood and rebellion that had shaped me. I found the attitudes I’d end up embracing and resisting my entire life.”

Some of it seemed innocuous. Some of it, like the entrepreneurial spirit in The Babysitters Club series, was even great. But reading with an adult eye, enlightened by the mindset of the 21st century, she found much of what she’d pumped into her brain at a young age to be incredibly problematic.

“I started reading them, and it was comforting, it took the edge off,” Moss said in a recent interview. “But I had expected to read, disregard and never think about them again. I was kind of surprised that I kept thinking about what was right with them, and what was wrong with them — and how

Article source: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/entertainment/books/article/Paperback-Crush-explores-how-books-from-13293976.php

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