When I read the first few pages of this book, I immediately began to gravitate towards the book. At first I had no idea why, it was just some young girl’s diary and her take on the world around her and what was important to her; boys, popularity, and other things that mean nothing in the current adult world. But now that I’ve read it all through, I was able to realize that even though I’m a guy myself, I was able to relate to her diary to an extent. The things she would talk about, the functions she would go to and her documenting how the guys would react to her and other girls reminded me of me and how it was when I was younger.
The upside to it though, the part that made it even better to me was that from this book I could see how it was for a female that age. Back in those days, I would always wonder what goes through the girl’s mind, and wonder why they would do the things they do. Emily being labeled a “slut” in her grade and every guy trying to take advantage of it, admittedly I’ve seen in middle school as well. I wasn’t necessarily the enforcer of slut shaming, but I do remember just going with the assumption that the specific girl was and believed the guy’s side of the story because the guys are usually what I would be around.
Reading this story showed me that situations that I treated as not a big deal when I was that age was a more serious situation from the female’s perspective. The lies being told from females and males alike, and those situations in the book that Emily would be stuck in that she really didn’t want to be but simply let it happen, tells an alarming truth about how it is in middle school. Growing up I remember how curious I was about the opposite sex, and I have to admit that I was just as sexually charged as most of the boys in this book, and back then I never knew how much it had effected the girl nor did I really care.
What made me sad the most about this story was the cruelty that was spread around this diary, including from Emily herself. Then it shows how much image means to her school; her friends that she was so close with when she was popular, just abandoned her when she had the reputation of being a slut on her from the popular kids even going as far as to make a AOL instant message profile name Die Emily Lindin and asking her to kill herself. Reading this makes surprises me to an extent, thinking why are these kids so cruel to each other? Then I realize that these are kids, and even though what they were doing is wrong on a lot of levels, these kids have no idea what they are doing nor do they know the gravity of what they are saying and doing to one another.
Everyone just wanted to fit in, even Emily. There were times in the story where although she wasn’t necessarily the enforcer of slut shaming to other girls, she certainly had no problem with going along with it and having no tolerance for the girls that got slut shamed themselves, even though the other girls were more than likely the victim of a vicious rumor, or was in a situation that they didn’t mean to be and just went along with it because they didn’t know what else to do or risk losing popularity.
This book is alarmingly realistic, to the extent that I would be worried about my future kids and how they would react to the situations Emily had to go through. Emily went through these situations in the nineties, and I went through and saw the same type of situations just like she and the people she reacted to around her age, so I can only assume that the same type of situations are happening now and will in the future.
I would want my future son to act as a support system for a girl that was going through the situations that Emily did. In her diary, you did see one or two of the boys act a lot more mature, and even provide a support system for her either through talking on the phone, or through Instant Messenger. They would either not bring up the rumors at all and actually have a genuine conversation with Emily, or they would see the rumors for the bullshit they were or not judge her for what may have happened.
But what really scares me the most of all, is the thought that my future daughter may have to go through this phase in middle school. Either being slut shamed, or being peer pressured into being the slut shamer. In her diary, just like the boys there were a few friends that didn’t succumb to the peer pressure and actually were friends with her for who she was regardless. But I realize, especially when you are young and impressionable in middle school that popularity means a lot to a kid. This book shows both spectrums of popularity and how aggressive it can be for kids. The boys are taking out sexual frustrations on girls, and if they were popular it seemed like either the girls had to do it and be deemed a slut, or refuse and be seen as prude.