Curing Obnoxiousness

Once I Was Obnoxious coverOnce I was Obnoxious…
and You’ll Never Guess What Happened

How can you pass up a title like this? Our friend Doris has yet another incomprehensible book.  Evidently, from the back cover, this book is supposed to teach respect.  There is also a detachable paper doll that is supposed to slide in and out of the pictures in the book. I handed this book to several people, including some reasonably sharp librarians (it was early in the day), and no one understood what was going on, couldn’t follow the story, and ended up being mad that I made them read something so weird before having coffee.

From my best guess, this is a fanciful story of kids traveling through the world (and space!) doing awful things to other people. They finally end up in a re-education camp (seriously) and have to write “I will not be obnoxious” over and over. This “treatment” cures them and they return home without any obnoxious behavior. Lesson learned.

I will be in the back with booze and chocolate trying to make sense of the world if anyone needs me.


Once I Was Obnoxious back cover

Best friend Millicent

Obnoxious in China

Juvenile Hall

Best friends


  1. Wow! This lady is a little odd to say the least. I can’t believe people actually bought her books.

  2. Obviously, teaching children respect is terribly difficult if you use this book! What kind parent would use this piece of insane drivel to teach something as important as respect, compassion, and kindness. Maybe she watched the beginning clips of the Simpsons too many times and thinks all children are like Bart. “Bart Bucks are not legal tender,” and all that. Can we put this woman in Writers Rehab Camp?? Please!

  3. If everyone who’s obnoxious winds up in detention, we’ll need very large detention centers indeed!

  4. Can we send Doris to a re-education camp and make her write, “I will not write any more books” a million and 44 times?

  5. So… not wanting lots of friends is obnoxious? I’m having a whole bunch of issues with that lesson.

    Given what happened to the girls in this book, I fear for the protagonist of Once I Told a Lie.

  6. If you get your hands on a copy of this book, don’t let it go! They are worth a lot of money. I hope to bad book collectors and not to read to a child of the target ages, 4-7. This may be the worst of the awfuls for me. Worse than the Satanic worshiping baby sitter? Probably! Juvenile Hall, solitary confinement… for being obnoxious? Well, she was a bit more than that, but still… Throwing water balloons off the Great Wall? Spitting on people? What did they do to the donkey caravan? Where were the parents to tell them to knock it off? That’s what I wonder!

    Nothing wrong with not wanting to play with Grace or Victoria. Maybe they’re boring girls. But, they don’t deserve being made to cry. Little girls DO form little packs and DO exclude others. (It gets worse in middle school when former best friends aren’t)

  7. What does Doris dream of at night? She would make a great baddie character for a middle reader chapter book . . . .

  8. This is the same author as Within a Yard of Hell and other depressing books about dysfunction. I think that Doris misses the mark with this book. The target ago group of ages 4-7 will take the information literally and think that spitting can get you tossed into juvie for 4 years.

    1. The juvenile rehabilitation center sounded like the self imposed confinement of my then teenage son; sitting in his room,
      eating TV dinners, but watching youtube videos instead of writing “I will not be obnoxious” for four and a half years.
      At 20 he is almost resocialized.

  9. Well, having a little version of the character physically move through the book is kind of inventive. That’s the only nice thing I have to say. All right, I laughed at “4 years in solitary confinement eating TV dinners.”

  10. It’s hard to judge, but it doesn’t look like that paper doll on the front would fit very well in most of the other illustrations. She looks like she would be hanging off the Great Wall, for instance.

  11. You tricked me! The illustrator isn’t the usual pastel-lover, so I didn’t realise it was our old friend Doris until I read the blurb. Is this some kind of weird Red Scare book? I can’t see how someone could end up in solitary confinement for 4 years for being naughty unless it somehow involved angry Chinese communists. (Err…and even then, I’m pretty sure actual Chinese communists wouldn’t stick kids in prison for spitting.)

  12. Are those oak trees or holly trees? Are there ants in that girl’s bed? Why did they shout “Nanny Nanny Nanny?” How is solitary confinement supposed to help re-socialize someone?
    So many questions.

  13. Sounds like when I was in high school. When you were loud or obnoxious in study hall, you had to sit and write ” I will not be_________” or something weird 500 times and turn it in the next day (we didn’t have detention because almost all of us rode a bus to school). I suspect this author had something similar happen to her…

  14. How do you get to be in charge of sending people to Obnoxiousness Camp? I think I may have found my new career path.

  15. Doris doesn’t like children that much, does she?

    The juvenile detention part is a, cough, cough, “great” thing to be showing kids…

  16. In some countries they actually DO send children to reeducation camps. In China they are called “Brat Camp.” In the United States, parents also send children off to camps in other countries beyond the reach of US child welfare laws, to be abused and brainwashed. I’m surprised the commenters here do not know these things.

    1. And if you can get the kid an autism diagnosis, they can go to the Judge Rotenberg Center and be “re-educated” with shock collars right here in the US without legal repercussions. Nonetheless, it’s pretty alarming that this writer seems to think this is a good idea…

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