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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Through No Fault of My Own

Through no fault of my own, I came home from the last teacher work day (after shopping for groceries and getting laundry started, of course) and read on the window seat. The chosen book is so charming I laugh aloud, so charming I read parts aloud to my family at dinner last night.

Through No Fault of My Own is the diary of thirteen-year-old Coco (Clotilde) Irvine, penned in 1927 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is unbelievably precocious, usually oblivious to the true opinions of the adults in her world, and daring beyond imagination. Coco believes she is no longer a child and is mortified each time her parents associate her with one. She believes HE, the boy she likes, is giving other signals each time he avoids her or says something derogatory. She dresses in her mother's clothing and shoes (tied on her smaller feet) to go dancing with her brother in her parents' absence, drives her sister's car alone around Manitou Island, and convinces her mother it is fine for boating on White Bear Lake despite strong winds.

The diary was found by journalist Peg Meier in the Minnesota Historical Society's archives and is an amusing and honest account of a young girl's life in the Jazz Age. Read it to experience the timelessness of a teenager's thoughts and experiences. But read it also to visit a past era that feels like it could be yesterday.


  1. It sounds very intriguing...especially since I live only a couple of blocks away from White Bear Lake and Manitou Island! Is this a word-for-word reprint of her diary, or has it been reworked?

  2. I thought perhaps it could be a book we read aloud later this month, Brattcat.

    David, it is just down the road from you! Coco did omit what she considered some of the boring segments, according to Peg Meier's words. She and her younger sister prepared it for publication in 1965. This edition included typographical corrections.

  3. What a find! I'm putting it on my list . . .