When I was eleven we were on vacation when I had finished all my books. On a trip! And we couldn't get more! For a child like me this was The End Of The World. So my mother decided I was old enough to be introduced to the female family guilty secret--cheap trashy romance novels.
The kind you buy at the drugstore for a couple bucks and have bright red covers. The series are called things like Obsession and Temptation.
And oh these are the very worst kinds of books to let a girl of that age read. Full of men who are surly and cruel until the love of a good woman changed them into Prince Charming. The women are all virgins (even in their thirties) and, don't get me wrong, if people's personal choices lead them to being a virgin at thirty-one than that is fabulous but if a woman meets a man who is BEYOND THRILLED that she is a virgin she should run run run in the other direction. After smacking the shit out of them.
God. The women who have had sex have never enjoyed it before because they WEREN'T IN LOVE. The men are allowed to be overly aggressive and come close to raping the heroines because he loves her so much he cannot control himself. I re-read the sex scenes over and over sure that I was learning everything I needed about sex. I was an authority. What? You mean sex ISN'T LIKE THAT? You mean I am never going to date a man named RAFE?
Now these books are marketing for bored housewives who hopefully know better but it was just madness for a preteen girl. I am not a prude, my mother should have totally given me porn to read instead. Much more realistic, scarily enough.
My real shame in all of this is how many of these I still read. All of the ones I have I took from my mother's house--since she own THOUSANDS of them. Most of them were written in the eighties so the women still wear scrunchies and tapered jeans and bold gold jewelry. I can't stand to put them in my nice bookcases--GOD KNOWS people do not need to see that crap. So I have them stashed around the house, shoved in drawers and cupboards.
Fortunately, I do not need many of them. I have my favorite stories--each more horrible than the next. Over dramatic. Annoying. Desperate. With everyone getting married and having babies in the end. But I do feel like I need to put them in a locked box or something.
So no other eleven year old should get any ideas.