Maddie's always falling in love with a different guy. Except the different guys are always the same. I mean, they're always kind of wild. She really goes for the wild type. And they always get her into trouble, like going to the casino all night, or they get her to run away to Surfers' with them. Then her dad says she can't see them anymore and she gets into even more trouble climbing out of their top-floor apartment window and trying to slide down the drainpipe.
If you really want to know about my brothers and sisters I'll tell you. Do you really? Okay, I'm going to tell you right now, and if you only asked to be polite or something, you should skip the next bit. Okay?
Well, first there's my brother, Nick. He's twelve, eats nothing except raw spaghetti, and hasn't said a word for the last two years. Well, he has said about five words but only when I got hold of his neck and squeezed it till his face went purple. Then he spoke until I let go. But only in swearwords. He used to be kind of like a friend of mine -- well, he used to be my slave, anyway, because he worshipped me when he was small.
Then there's Renee. She's eight and she's an angel. She's smart too -- last year my grandmother had a heart attack right in front of Renee's eyes, when they were alone in the house, and Renee called emergency services and SAVED GRANDMAS LIFE. Cool, huh? For a seven-year-old. She also remembered to switch off the stove where Grandma was boiling rhubarb so it wouldn't all boil away into mush.
Then there's Robbo, who's five, and he's the devil.
Last there's the baby, Lauren, and she just turned one. She can run but she can't walk, because if she slows down to a walk she loses her balance and tips over sideways. She can also talk but only in a completely unknown language.
My mum had two miscarriages between Robbo and Lauren too, so I guess there'd be seven of us, and this letter would go on forever.
My dad came over here from Slovenia when he was about sixteen, and he met my mum picking grapes up at Mudgee. Mum's family's Italian.
Sorry, I accidentally started telling you my whole family history. Anyway I can hear Derek coming (he's whistling Pearl Jam's "Alive" and it sounds exactly like the original; you have to admit that it's a real talent and I don't see why they don't let him in the school band) so I'm gonna tell Radison that I've got a headache and get out of here. >See ya,
Don't forget to write back,
Dear Ms. Clarry,
I see you have a pimple just beneath your nose today.
That's a good start and we'd like to compliment you on that. Teenagers are supposed to have pimples.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?
That's the MOST DISGUSTING ZIT WE HAVE EVER SEEN.
And you know what else? Real teenagers clean their faces every day to avoid that kind of thing.
Get into the fridge, and put your head in a paper bag.
All the best,
The Association of Teenagers
Copyright (c) 2000 Jaclyn Moriarty. All rights reserved. Reproduced by the permission of the publisher, St Martin's Press. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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