Why did I love this book?
This novel started it all, creating the character of Gidget who would ultimately appear in three feature films, two TV series, three made-for-TV movies, four more novels, and two novelizations of movies, plus kid cartoons, parodies, songs, and more. Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas is based on the real-life experiences of screenwriter Kohner’s daughter Kathy, who found herself one of very few girls surfing in Malibu. The story is told in the voice of Gidget, nicknamed that because she is a diminutive girl. To be sure, the novel deals with her crush on Jeff, nicknamed Moondoggie, and her burgeoning sexual desire, but the novel does more than titillate. More importantly, the novel emphasizes Gidget’s passion for surfing, and especially the feeling of freedom that surfing provides. In the end, Gidget says her romance with Jeff may have been “a dream” but her romance with surfing is “for real:” “Maybe I was just a woman in love with a surfboard.” This emphasis on surfing marks Gidget as a countercultural and even feminist novel.