Me, Me, Me, Me, Me Critical Context - Essay

Marijane Meaker

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me joins several other autobiographical works about young adult authors such as Beverly Cleary’s A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir (1988) and Lois Duncan’s Chapters: My Growth as a Writer (1982). These authors attempt to satisfy the curiosity of their readers about how they work and to explain their own growing-up years. In an author’s note, Kerr calls this book “an answer to many letters from kids wanting to know if the things I write about really happened,” and she dedicates it to “YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU kids who wrote me, and to your teachers and librarians who encouraged you to read me.”

The real life of authors and how they transform facts into fiction does have a genuine appeal to a young adult audience and hopefully will serve as a motivator for readers to explore more of Kerr’s works. In addition, Kerr’s reminiscences include much material that may be considered “bibliotherapeutic” in nature, including psychological assessments of teenage problems and in-depth analysis, rather than a superficial look, at the dilemmas that one encounters. Family relationships, infatuation and sex, the place of women in society, and the problems experienced by being non-conformist or different are all confronted by Kerr with honesty, coupling seriousness with humor. Like her novels, Kerr’s Me, Me, Me, Me, Me portrays the adolescent experience as initially self-centered and ego-motivated, but as eventually enlarged and tempered by experience and interaction with others. Although Kerr’s nonfiction may not be as popular as her novels, this book will remain important to young adult readers as an effort by the author to link her life to her literature.