Actually there are two more definitions: (3) It's slang for a rich girl. (4) Or getting the best of everything, but only in halves, never complete.
So what does it mean to you, Susan? What does it mean for this book? Actually, all the definitions apply to Chrissie. The late 80s and the 90s were a unique period of time to be a young woman. In someways, the women of this generation exemplify the paradox often created during a transitional period in history. It makes my poor little girl on the shell frustrating at times. I got a review yesterday where the reader said, she wanted to slap Chrissie and at times her reaction to things where 'What the?'
I didn't force Chrissie to be anything other than she was: a damaged, struggling, virgin crossing into womanhood, and trying to find her way in an often misunderstood difficult period for female identity in the US. She doesn't always behave how we want her to. Her reactions to life are unpredictable. Her feelings at times aggravating. And she is often, her own worst enemy.
Having raised a herd of girls, I can tell you I've not met an 18 year old girl not like that. We rarely were ever arguing on the surface about what they were really upset about. From time to time, yes I wanted to slap my girls. Didn't do it, but heck they were frustrating. And how they view themselves and the world, and how I viewed them and their world were rarely consistent.
It was a tough decision not to tie Chrissie up in a neat formula bow that readers would like and easily identify with. It's left me with either readers who love her or readers who want to slap her. But I guess that's the point of her. She is, after all, The Girl on the Half Shell. She has a long journey ahead, through a critical period in female history.
That's what the Half Shell series is about. She's my favorite girl, because she is messy and raw, and a character I think a lot of readers may identify with because I didn't tie her up nicely in a bow of hearts and flowers. And she brings context to my next generation of girls, The Sand and Fog Series, which starts with her daughter in 2012. I have to say, I love writing the girls of the new millennium. The generation that follows Chrissie, well, these girls are so different. These girls are so amazing, and whenever I write about my Girl of Sand and Fog I often think...you've come a long way baby. This generation of women changed the world, without anyone seeing it.
But to understand them, you really have start at the beginning with the girls of the Half Shell Series.