Wednesday, 3 March 2010

My secret diary (Wilson)

"Hello. I've nothing to write about as today was so quiet and ordinary, so I'll write down anything that comes into my head. The nice thing about this diary is that I can write anything without being laughed at; I can write down secrets with no fear of them being told; I can jsut scribble away to my heart's content. I don't even have to worry about writing or spelling because I don't mind a bit if I'm untidy. You get a lovely sense of freedom this way"

I came across Jacqueline Wilson's My secret diary at the library the other week (I was in the branch library where the children's/teen books are in the same room) and couldn't resist borrowing it! Although Wilson has had most of her success after I was a bit too old to read her books, I still enjoyed reading them as a child. But this book is absolutely fascinating!

Wilson has unearthed the diaries that she kept as a child and used them as the basis for writing a second volume of autobiography (the first is Jacky Daydream, which I haven't read but would quite like to seek out now). So the book features extracts from her diaries, contextualised by her memories of the period.

What I loved is the way that the diary deals with the extremely mundane - what happened at school, what she had for dinner, the holidays that she went on, the boys that she had a crush on, and the books that she read (this was perhaps the most fascinating bit from a bibliophilic perspective - she was a big fan of I capture the castle, read Peyton Place surreptitiously (and didn't understand what the fuss was about - she'd read far more racy things without her Mum knowing!), loved Billy Liar, liked Monica Dickens and enjoyed Gone with the wind partly for its great length. I was also interested that she had had to read Emma Smith's Maiden Trip as a class reader).

In fact, Wilson's diaries are very similar to my own from my early teens, and I dug them out. I had a hugely entertaining evening rereading 1995 (the only complete record year - my Mum bribed me £5 to keep a diary for a year (as my fiance points out this wasn't a very good return on my time even in 1995).

Here are a few sample entries (I didn't write much each day, luckily there wasn't space)
Saturday 4th February: "Quite a boring day. Worked on my project and helped to make lunch. I made beefburgers for my tea. Yum. Watched Noel's house party"
Sunday 9th February: "Went to church. The service was 1 hour 20 minutes long. I was totally bored. The same vicar is taking the service for Easter next week - arghh"
Saturday 19th August: "Went to Padstow. Had a great time in the bookshop. Bought two books. GREAT".
Tuesday 12th September: "We had double history today it was ace. Triple hockey in the afternoon sucks. Becky came round for tea"


  1. First I was drawn to the cover but, after reading your post, I realized this is the type of book I would have loved when I was 12... and probably would still love now!

  2. Heh. Watched Noel's House Party! Love it.

  3. I do like the cover, and the book itself sounds good. I can relate - 1995 was the year I started keeping a journal, and while I've gone through incredibly long phases without writing in it (about eight months now), it's still a very important part of me. Inspired by Anne Frank, I even had a name for it.

    I should dig out some of the older ones...

    Thanks for a lovely post.

  4. JoAnn - I still often love books that I would have loved when I was 12!

    Vintage - it was rare that I was allowed to watch Noel's House Party, hence being worth a mention. I think my best friend's sister had gone to the filming (being Noel Edmond's daughter's best friend) which is why an exception was made!

    Another cookie - I also had a name for my diary, also inspired by Anne Frank, but that came in in about September I think!


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