Thursday, July 24, 2014

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen


Image via Goodreads
Title: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek 
Author: Maya Van Wagenen
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

Blurb:

A touchingly honest, candidly hysterical memoir from breakout teen author Maya Van Wagenen 

Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular? 

The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise—meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek is a memoir written by Maya Van Wagenen. In this book, Maya recounts her school year as she carried out a social experiment - she's decided to follow the advice from a 1950s Popularity Guide by Betty Cornell for an entire year. She ponders on what being popular means and what makes one popular.

I don't usually read memoirs. However, since this book was highly recommended to me by a friend, I've decided to give this book a try. And I am glad I did. I really enjoyed reading Maya's journey. It's honest, funny and touching.

I gotta say, I really admire Maya's courage. She followed Betty Cornell's advice (from Cornell's Popularity Guide written more than 60 years ago!) on hair, make up, clothes, etc, no matter how embarrassing they are. There are moments when she was mocked and made fun of, especially when Maya started wearing clothes from the 50s. Still, she pushed through and didn't let that stop her from carrying on this journey.

Maya is someone of whom anyone who's been at the bottom of the social hierarchy in school could relate to. Me included. Reading this book brings back a lot of memories, some of which are good, some of which- not so much. I guess if I'd had this book when I'm still in high school, it would make a good companion and I probably would have done some things differently back then.

Popular by Maya Van Wagenen is truly inspiring and I highly recommend it!


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