Recently I experienced a moment of great joy when a friend spontaneously remembered the name of the girl band we liked in elementary school that no one else seemed to remember. I couldn’t remember any helpful details like the band’s name or song titles or song lyrics or even melodies I could hum. But it turns out they were called BoyKrazy, and they were even worse than I might have guessed.
This is not book-related in itself, but it has come up as a topic of conversation over the last couple years on occasion with my friend Nell, who has her own life mystery to solve. On realizing the joy of solving mine, it occurred to me that I could try to pay it forward by asking for the help of you, our well read audience, to solve hers. Nell loved a children’s book when she was in elementary school that must have been first published no later than 1986, but she suspects it was probably from the mid-to-late 70s or early 80s. Here’s what she remembers:
The main character is a young girl who always paints mustaches on herself. Her teacher tells her that mustaches are for boys and that she can’t paint any more on herself. She has black hair that I think is in a bowl cut with bangs.
At some point in the story, she makes a new friend who has an electric train set in her attic, closet, spare room, or someplace like that. I believe the story takes place in New York City or some other metropolitan area with apartment buildings (I vaguely remember the new friend living in her building), but I may have projected that on my memories from my earliest childhood memories.
The story ends with the girl painting mustaches on everyone in art class, including the girly girl and the art teacher–who ends up laughing about it.
So, please, if this is at all familiar to you, help a girl out in the comments! If you understand the agony of kind of sort of remembering something that no one else seems to know exists, you’ll want to lend her a hand. Thanks!
UPDATE: Mystery solved!! Nell reports that it was in fact Elizabeth Levy’s Nice Little Girls. Thank you very much, Rebecca! Now tell me, do you own the book, or are you the best Google detective of all time?