Book nostalgia: Anastasia Krupnik
By Megan on June 21st, 2012
Two weeks ago, Nadia introduced our new summer blog series on book nostalgia. Here’s the next installment on one of my absolute favorites, Lowis Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik. I loved the entire series, but I chose to revisit book one for this project.
It only took me one page of Anastasia Krupnik to be reminded of why I loved this book so much as a kid. Page one is a page out of Anastasia’s “secret green notebook,” which she uses throughout the book to keep lists of her likes and dislikes. There’s “Things I Like!” (mounds bars, my room, Christmas), and “Things I Don’t Like!” (liver, boys, hospital rules) and not only are these lists funny in their ridiculous specificity, they’re also telling; they measure Anastasia’s character growth as the book progresses.
To Recap: We meet Anastasia at the height of typical pre-teen curiosity and confusion. She’s ten years old, annoyed by boys, embarrassed by her parents’ every move, and bursting with a thousand questions and a desire to grow up and be someone special. We follow her through a series of disappointments and experiences—she gets an F on her poetry assignment, she grows a mysterious wart on her finger, and she’s particularly puzzled by a sixth grade boy she hates to love named Washburn Cummings. To top it all off, her parents have just broke the news that they’re expecting, and Anastasia is beside herself. She adds “babies” to her list of Things I Dislike! However, her parents bestow the honor of naming the baby on Anastasia, which warms her up to the idea, and eventually, “babies (especially baby brother Sam)” moves to her list of Things I Like!
I make lists all the time, even lists about things I like and dislike (reframed as things that make me happy and things that don’t, things I want to accomplish or remember or find inspiring), and I realized upon opening this book again after probably 15 years that it’s because of Anastasia’s proclivity for lists that I started making them in the first place. I’ve always kept a journal and it’s always been full of lists, and I read the Anastasia Krupnik series cover to cover numerous times. This was a true eureka moment for me. So I suppose I have her (and Lowis) to thank.
Another thing I love about this book is how wonderful Anastasia’s relationship is with her parents. Her father is a professor of literature and a poet and her mother is an artist, and they treat Anastasia with a kindness and loving admiration that is so touching. They don’t dote on her or treat her like a baby by excluding her from mature conversation and family decisions, they talk to her practically and honestly. Because of that she is smart and bold in her actions, and not insecure about her many idiosyncrasies that make her so wonderful. In turn, she is both embarrassed by her parents but at the same time enamored by their creativity and adultness. It’s a fun dynamic to follow.
All in all, I’m so happy I revisited the life of the spunky, unapologetically awkward Anastasia. I mean she’s just so cool in all her quirky ways—it really made me want to be 10 again. Thanks, Nadia!
image via goodreads.com
No comments yet