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Gidget Paperback – June 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reissue edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425179621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425179628
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If all American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn, all American surf culture comes from Gidget, the ostensible diary of Kathy Kohner, a teensy, gutsy teenage girl who crashed the all-male scene at Malibu Beach north of L.A. in 1957 and earned, from Moondoggie and others, the nickname Gidget, which meant "Girl Midget." Her father, the German immigrant screenwriter Frederick Kohner, fascinated by the beach-shack counterculture, interviewed his perky daughter at length, eavesdropped with permission on her phone calls, fictionalized her adventures, and batted out this influential bestseller. He nailed a tiny subculture's new form of speech ("If you want to know what goes on in Loveville ... Dig Number One: being gone on a boy is more important than having a boy gone on you.") and made it a pop-culture staple. Newly reissued with the real Gidget's picture on the cover (as on the original hardback), the book is very slim (appropriately enough) and historically beguiling. You'll like her--you'll really like her! --Tim Appelo

From Publishers Weekly

"I'm not quite five feet but if it hadn't been for that year-round swimming I'd have probably stayed a dwarf," writes the teenage surfer chick in the upcoming reissue of Gidget by Frederick Kohner. The kitschy, American pop culture classic was written in 1957, hit Hollywood in 1959 and returns for summer 2001, brimming with tales of guys, waves, hopes and dreams. Kohner based the novel on the life of his then 16-year-old daughter, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the charming young thing who penetrated what was previously a male-dominated sport with gusto. She writes a foreword for this version, which has a splashy cover that will appeal to teens and older fans alike.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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On the other hand, it is a fun and quick read.
Jeff Richardson
The book does indeed introduce America into the lifestyle of the California beach lifestyle.
William A. Hensler
This book is recommended as a great summer read for teenagers, and adults.
Heidi L. Marshall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tracey L. Satterthwaite on July 7, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When my mother thrust Gidget at me about ten years ago, I shuddered. My only experience with the perky California teen was the movie (no dis intended to fans of the flick). Frederick Kohner's novel is a whole other ball of wax (board wax, natch!). While not particularly deep or philosophical, this novel is a delightful coming-of-age story.
Gidget's trials and tribulations convey all the horror, delight, confusion, and wonder of the teen years, from finding a pastime for which she has a passion (surfing), to the exultation, heartache (and, again, exultation) of her first real crush.
As Gidget takes the reader along on the magical summer of her fifteenth year, she also provides an in-depth tour of the California surf culture in the mid to late 1950s. Every sub-culture has its own lingo, and Kohner gives the reader a colorful, entertaining look at what has become an American Icon: the professional beach bum.
Each time I reread my faded, old copy of Gidget, I prayed that it would hold together for one more perusal. Imagine my delight when I found that it had been reissued! It may not be Shakespeare, but Kohner's "bitchen" novel is a classic of American pop culture!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Heidi L. Marshall on June 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was a teenager, and have hung on to it for 30 years! It is definitely one of my favorite "feel good" books. Gidget is the type of girl that every red blooded American teenage girl wants to be. She lives the kind of life that most of us dream about. The sand and surf of Malibu Beach come alive in this book. Moondoggie, and the other surfers are really fun to read about, and get to know. This book is recommended as a great summer read for teenagers, and adults. I am so glad to see that it has been released again for an entire new generation to read and enjoy. It is great fun!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Richardson on January 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's true this is not a work of a profound and philosophical nature. On the other hand, it is a fun and quick read. The fact that it is at least loosely based on the life of Kathy Kohner and that it was written by her father, who picked up some ideas for the book by eavesdropping on her telephone conversations, only adds to the enjoyment. The beach culture/counterculture presented in this book ushered in not only the Gidget movies but also all of the beach-oriented movies from the early and mid-60s. It's easy enough for anyone who recalls being a teenager to identify with at least some of the teenage angst contained within Gidget. If you're looking for a light, sunny read on a dark winter's day or at any other time, give it a chance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Rowswell on March 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frederick Kohner, a naturalized American has written one of the great American novels--no kidding--this puts Kohner in a class with James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville. It is the seminal story of how little Franzie Hofer (based on his daughter Kathy, the first member of his family born in the U.S.) stood up to the big boys and earned their respect--and in one case, his love. Gidget meets the gang, nearly drowns, learns to surf and learns to love. But this novel is not about plot; it's about language; consider the opening sentence: "I'm writing this down because I once heard that that when you're getting older you're liable to forget things and I'd sure be the most miserable woman in this world if I ever forgot what what happened this summer." The language is purposefully unbeautiful and painfully self conscious--it sets the tone for the entire novel; we love Gidget, not for her virtues, but for her faults. And love her we do--her pipsqueak philosophy, her 50's counter-culture vocabulary, her flaws, her faults--and of course her strange and disorienting use of language--If there's anything it's about, second after language, that would be what it's like to be fifteen years old. So here's to little Franzie--with the height of a garden gnome and the heart of a green beret, she towers over us all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RJRo20 on June 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"OH, Gidget, Gidget, Gidget..."

The movie's great (the first will always be my favorite--Sandra Dee & James Darren are forever Gidget and Moondoggie in my eyes). But the book? Wow. Such detail. Such style!

How did Kohner do it? How did a German-born Hollywood screenwriter writing his first novel (about a girl's passion for surfing and surf bums and her transition from adolescense to womanhood) complete it in just six weeks!? Incredible! No doubt he's a superb writer and storyteller. He can write a delicious romance so wonderful that it puts most romance novelists to shame! I should know. I'm a passionate romance reader at heart.

The descriptions and dialogue are a hoot. I would burst out laughing and chuckling at some of the most witty lines imaginable. There are poignant ones, too--especially at the end with the Great Kahoona and Gidge--words of wisdom that got me misty-eyed.

The cover art's fantastic and the real photos of Gidget, her dad, and the crew is a real treat.

After having first seen "Gidget" years ago, I can't believe it's taken me this long to finally have read the book. Don't wait a second more! For teenage girls all over, this is the ultimate ride, a thrilling coming-of-age story during one girl's unforgettable summer that has inspired so many--then, now, forever.

Thank you, Kathy! Thanks loads!!! Without you this would have been lost only to memory.
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