She thought her period was because she ate strawberries
January 15, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I've been trying to find a book I read as a kid, way back in the mid-to-late-seventies. My memories are sketchy, but this is what I've got: About a girl growing up in a small community, maybe in the mountains, or maybe just very rural. She had an extended family which included two unmarried aunts and a grandfather. It took place over a summer. She thought her first period was the result of eating a large amount of strawberries. It was written in first-person perspective, I think.

She was probably around 12. Her family included two unmarried aunts, but also parents, I think, and a grandparent or two. I think they all lived together in one big house, or else near each other.

I think she pretty much always wore overalls and was very much a tomboy. I believe the story took place over the summer, so school didn't play a part in it except as a future event.

There was a new boy in her community. He was from a big city, and spoke in a much more refined way than the other kids. I think near the end of the book, he kissed her, and the kiss was a little bit slidey (like, his mouth slid across her lips a little so it half-landed on her mouth and half on her cheek).
In one scene, she goes strawberry picking and eats a bunch of strawberries and then later that afternoon gets her first period and initially thinks it was from the strawberries.

As sort of a 'B' plot in the book, a man is courting both her aunts, who are competing with each other for his attention. There is a scene where the aunt who doesn't get chosen is sitting on the front porch either thinking or talking about her future as a spinster, and the feeling is definitely that she won't get another chance at marriage, due to the smallness of the community and the lack of unmarried men of the right age.

There is another scene in the book where the girl adds epsom salt (which her grandfather uses in his bath, maybe) to some cake batter when no one is looking, because she knows it will give everyone the runs. She does it as some sort of retaliation (maybe against the man who is courting her aunts). I think there is some sort of dance or other community celebration tied into this.

It was pretty much a slice-of-life, growing-up-and-not-liking-the-changes-that-come-along-with-it kind of a story.

I feel certain that this book wasn't published later than 1980. For years I assumed it was Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe by Bette Greene, but when I finally looked it up last year, it didn't sound right at all. It is possible I am conflating a few books here, but I'm pretty sure all this happens in one book. Also, I think the story took place during the mid-20th century.
posted by Brody's chum to Writing & Language (2 answers total)
There is a Good Reads post about this as well.

A commenter there says this:

message 5: by Needleroozer (new)
Feb 05, 2012 03:53pm

Needleroozer | 194 comments Someone on BookSleuth just solved this one for me. Here's what that person posted

Johnny May by Robbie Branscum. I remember reading this in the spring of Grade 7 which would have been 1977 & the book was published in Oct 1976 - I remember the jacket/mylar'd from the library was really crisp & new. Here's the write up from amazon:
A nine-year-old girl recounts her experiences growing up in the Arkansas hill country in the late 1940's.

Yippee!! Another one solved.

posted by zizzle at 11:23 AM on January 15, 2013

Thank you so much, zizzle!
posted by Brody's chum at 11:41 AM on January 15, 2013

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