Dusssie by Nancy Springer
It’s official: Dussie is going crazy – 100% certifiably crazy. Or … at least she hopes she is when she wakes up to find a mass of twenty-seven ssslithering, hisssssing sssnakes atop her head. Gross, right? But normal if you’re a part of the Gorgon family. It seems that every Gorgon girl who’s entered womanhood has entered it with her very own snakes. Dussie gets that it’s tradition, and genetic but why her? Couldn’t this have skipped a generation?! Why now, why smack in the middle of puberty? Why? Because of her dear deceased aunt: look-her-in-the-eye-and-you’ll-be-turned-to-stone Medusa. Isn’t it bad enough that Dussie has to carry the killer Gorgon’s name, but now she has to carry around the killer curse too?!
This may be normal, but there’s something about Dussie’s snakes that are vastly different. Sure, they slither and hiss like most other snakes, but they talk to Dussie, telepathically. All day, every day Dussie’s head is clouded with 27 snake voices – complaining, motivating, questioning, pleading for a story – it’s all very annoying, and strange too.
Nothing good can come from this. She’s tried everything to get rid of her new-found “pets”. She’s tried freezing them, she’s even contemplating cutting them – but she doesn’t want to hurt them (she’s not that mean) or herself for that matter. In a desperate need to clear her mind and figure thing out, Dussie does the one thing that always helps: hitting the streets of Manhattan for a nice stroll. But that stroll turns disastrous when she bumps into Troy, the cutest boy around and the object of Dussie’s affection, and accidentally turns him into a breathing stone statue. Oops! She didn’t mean to do that, it just sort of … happened. Doomed! Dussie’s doomed to be a snake head her whole live, a snake head who can’t possibly leave the house.
Or is she? Little by little, with the help of family and a new-found friend, Dussie slowly comes to terms with her new life, and her new pets. As she takes the time to learn about her snakes she learns more about herself. Day by day she begins to find both beauty and acceptance in her snakes, and more importantly in herself. But will this be enough to rid this evil burden from her life? Is this really a burden? Does Dussie really want to get rid of her snakes?
Nancy Springer has written a one of a kind story and has managed to breath new life into a story already told. The story of Greek gorgon Medusa has never been so laugh out loud funny as Springer has made it. Short, sweet, and well written Dusssie is a heartwarming story of the trial and tribulations of entering womanhood and finding yourself within the craziness normally called puberty.
Dusssie will have readers at the edge of the seats (im)patiently waiting to see what’s going to become of their soon to be favorite character. Dussie is not only a believable character, but she’s easily relatable, especially to anyone who has gone through, lived through, and has survived puberty. Springer has managed to summon all those awkward feelings/emotions one experiences during this time and really capture the truth in them, and makes us (older) readers see there’s a bit of snake head in us all.