American Library Association’s 2009 Best Books for Young Adults list 2009 Rainbow List
What kind of name is Marjetta?
Marjetta is a family name. I’m named after my grandmother’s sister, Audrey Marjetta, who was named after the first Marjetta. The first Marjetta’s mom made up the name. It’s a combination of Marjorie and Etta. You can listen to the pronunciation here
What kind of name is Geerling?
Geerling is Dutch. My grandparents immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands.
How long does it take to write a book?
It took me about six weeks to write the first draft of Fancy White Trash, but it was far from finished. During the editing process, it got about 90 pages longer! From writing the book until it was done with the editing process took about fourteen months.
Isn’t “white trash” racist and offensive?
A: As with any ethnic slur, it all depends on context. Jeff Foxworthy opened the door to poke fun at low income, white culture with his popular “You know you’re a redneck when…” routine. There are a number of country-western songs that celebrate white trash and redneck roots. White trash cookbooks are out, teaching how to make everything from Frito pie to red velvet cake. I feel that in our current culture, white trash is not at all racist or offensive.
In my book Fancy White Trash, I’m actually trying to make the point that there is more to white trash culture than the stereotype. Abby’s family occupies the no-man’s land between white trash and middle class. The land I found myself in when applying to college at the age of seventeen––not rich enough to pay for it myself, not poor enough to qualify for aid.
As a white girl growing up in Southern California, I thought I had no cultural heritage unless you count being a mall rat. I’ve learned since then that thinking your own upbringing is the norm and everyone else is ethnic is just another form of racism. InFancy White Trash, I wanted to use humor to show that normal is whatever you grow up with, however abnormal it may appear to others.
I firmly believe that if you actually read Fancy White Trash, there’s no way you can walk away from it thinking that the title is offensive.
Are you working on a new book?
Is it a sequel to Fancy White Trash?
A: No. I feel like Abby’s story is done. She figured out what she needed to, and now the rest of her life is up to her.