• Podcast Librarian

American Girls: Because we loved those characters (except Samantha--she was dull)

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

The series you loved, book by book. Join Allison Horrocks and Mary Mahoney as they explore the wild world of American Girl fandom. In each episode, Allison and Mary will dive into an American Girl book from their (and perhaps your) childhood. Using their knowledge as professional historians and finely tuned instincts as amateur pop culture critics, they’ll take you back to a very different time—the 1990s. ⠀


Series or standalone:

Technically standalone, but you'll probably want to listen to, for example, all the Addy episodes consecutively.


Begin listening to:

Any episodes


Format:

Discussion about the books coupled with commentary about their historical accuracy (or, er...not).


Host(s):

Allison Horrocks and Mary Mahoney, historians and AG fans


Sound/production quality:

Good


Rating/age suitability:

Probably most appealing to millenials who read the books as children. The episodes are fine to listen to with children around, but they aren't likely to be interested since the books are no longer popular.


Approximate length of episodes:

60-75 minutes


Curricular ties:

If this were 1997, then hell yes. But kids don't really read AG books anymore (I know this firsthand as a librarian), and they definitely wouldn't listen to a podcast dissecting the historical accuracy of such.


Similar recommended pods:

Babysitters Club Club


Podcast Librarian’s Review:

Have you ever longed for a podcast that features historians dissecting the American Girl canon (Pleasant Company years, with the OG girls) from a literary criticism perspective that blends feminist, historical, and sociocultural theory? Me neither, until I found out this podcast exists and became immediately obsessed. In the same vein as pods like Babysitters Club Club (highly recommended), Women of Harry Potter, and a plethora of Sweet Valley High recap pods (seriously, there are a TON), the hosts reread this beloved series from their childhood and examine it with a more critical eye, given that they are now historians. It’s not a comedy podcast, per se, but it has some funny moments and gives a lot more historical context to the texts. So far, I’ve listened to most of the Felicity episodes. The hosts are covering the books chronologically, so I’m looking forward to them getting to some of my favorites, like Addy, Kirsten, and Molly (the running joke is that most fans identify as Molly—it’s like being a basic AG bitch). My only complaint is that the hosts also do some pop culture chat that is supposed to be related to AG but really isn’t at all and brings the momentum of the pod to a halt. I think they would do better to focus on what the people want— chat about the books! But if you skip over those sections, then the pod is a fun, easy listen that will make you nostalgic for the early 90s when AG was in its heyday. And now, a tangent/origin story:

I’d be remiss to talk about American Girl without mentioning that it is responsible for introducing me to my penpal/BFF of 21 years. In 1998, AG magazine, to which I was a subscriber, had an article about penpals with a call out: send in your address, and they would hook you up with another subscriber to be penpals (something that would never happen today because, well, pedophiles...but these were simpler times)! Anyway, I got matched with Mallorie in CA (which was insanely cool for someone from PA), and we’re still penpals all these years later. We’ve met 3 times, including at her wedding. So I will always have a special place in my heart for AG!


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