Top-selling author Louise Rennison has once again captured the more hilarious elements of the teen experience with Away Laughing on a Fast Camel: Even More Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. Although the title doesn’t mention nunga-nungas or snogging, never fear: written in Rennison’s trademark, freewheeling, made-up-word-laden style, Away Laughing picks right up where Dancing In My Nuddy-Pants left off.
The action takes place during two eventful months in the life of Georgia, a self-obsessed, yet kind teenager who’s got an upbeat, wacky personality and a keen eye for the humor in ordinary situations. Her minute-by-minute descriptions of the showdowns between her cat, Angus, and Mr. And Mrs. Across the Street are some of the book’s funniest bits.
There are, of course, many funny bits in Away Laughing, and Rennison’s talent for character development adds to the book’s compulsive readability. Although Georgia chatters on about numerous people, from best friend Jas to hapless teacher Elvis Attwood, each one is memorable.
Georgia fends her way through a forest of vexation, frustration and hormonal fluctuation. Her boyfriend, the Sex God, has gone away and hardly ever writes, but then there’s Dave the Laugh, a friend who gives her good advice and is also pretty sexy. Georgia’s parents seem intent on embarrassing her with their mere existence, and her little sister, well, here’s a quote: “My life is over and I am a mad toddler’s playdough person.” Drama aside, though, Georgia’s a good kid whose love for her imperfect parents and sister is evident beneath the harrumphing and eye-rolling. She’s also a character with a knack for creative linguistics. Some words have “osity” at the end for emphasis (“dignity” becomes “dignitosity”), while others are recognizable as English words or expressions, such as “bacofoil” instead of “aluminum foil.” There are certain words, though “boy entrancers” and “pingy pongoes” come to mind for which it’s best to rely on context clues, or turn to the glossary in the back of the book. Easy-peasy! Linda M. Castellitto writes from her marvy home in Rhode Island.