Now for something completely different (LVIII)

06 Oct

A Date With Judy (1957, vol. 58)

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In Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day –

From the moment Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair, things just don’t go Alexander’s way. When Alexander gets out of bed, he trips on the skateboard and drops his sweater into the sink while the water was running. At breakfast, Alexander’s brothers, Anthony and Nick reach into their cereal boxes and find amazing prizes while Alexander ends up with cereal.

On the way to school, he doesn’t get a seat by the window in the car-pool. At school, his teacher, Mrs. Dickens doesn’t like his picture of the invisible castle (which is actually just a blank sheet of paper), criticizes him for singing too loud and leaving out 16. His friend, Paul deserts him to be his third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunch.

At the dentist, Dr. Fields tells Alexander he has a cavity, the elevator door closes on his foot, Anthony accidentally pushes him in the mud, Nick says he is a crybaby for crying, and Mom punishes him in the act of punching Nick.

At the shoe store, they’re sold out of Alexander’s choice of sneakers (blue ones with red stripes), so Mom has to force him to buy himself plain white sneakers, which he refuses to wear.

At Dad’s office, Alexander makes a mess of things when he fools around with everything there (the copy machine, the books, and the telephone) getting to the point where Dad tells him not to pick him up from work anymore.

At home, the family has lima beans for dinner (which he hates), there is kissing on TV (which he also hates), bath time becomes a nightmare (too hot water, soap in his eyes, and losing a marble down the drain) and he has to wear his railroad train pajamas (he hates his railroad train pajamas).

At bedtime, his nightlight burns out, he bites his tongue, Nick takes back a pillow, and the family cat chooses to sleep with Anthony. No wonder Alexander wants to move to Australia.   But Mom assures Alexander that everybody has bad days, even people who live in Australia.

The “Alexander” series about a 5-year-old boy was written by Judith Viorst.   Viorst has written for children and adults, fiction and and non-fiction and poetry – many titles that I should read.   Such as Murdering Mr. Monti: A Merry Little Tale of Sex and Violence (1994).   Perhaps she channeled her namesake.

Interestingly, after two decades of writing for children and adults, she turned to the study of Freudian psychology.   In 1981, and after six years of study at Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, she became a research graduate there.


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