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Diving into Juvenile Literature

by David Easey February 9, 2016
Diving into Juvenile Literature

An orthodox and humorous way of approaching childhood writings

“He swears, he’s cruel to animals, he pollutes and he is gross,” said Simone Hanchet as she addressed a packed audience at La Sala Rossa this past Sunday evening.

All of the “grownups” that shared their childhood musings. Photo courtesy of Grownups Read.

All of the “grownups” that shared their childhood musings. Photo courtesy of Grownups Read.

“Do I even like him?” Hanchet continued, as she recited an old diary entry about a pesky boy from the past while the crowd began to cackle.

Alas, this is not another poetry slam event or some progressive group therapy exercise, but rather a comedic show called Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids.

The concept is simple and ingenious: adults dig up some old writings from their childhood and present it onstage to the crowd, resulting in some hilarious and often poignant moments.

This Canadian production started back in 2007 when creator Dan Misener and his wife Jenna discovered some old schoolwork buried deep in their basement. After a bit of alcohol and many laughs, they realized this was pure comedic gold and instinctively knew it would be a great show.

Beginning in a café in Toronto, the duo slowly built the show by inviting readers onstage to share their most bizarre and humorous childhood writings.

Seven years later they decided to take the show across the country, with stops in every major city in Canada and even future plans to expand to the United States. Anyone can apply to read, with this Montreal event amassing 18 readers who were ready to share their material in front of a sold-out audience. Some read diary entries while others used old short stories, MSN conversations and even original song lyrics.

The material often captures the raw immaturity and innocence of childhood and how we were constantly trying to understand our shifting surroundings as children.

The best bits though seem to come from those weekly journals we all had to do for school, with free-flowing juvenile thoughts warranting the best reactions from the crowd.

The audience was constantly bursting into fits of laughter during the two-hour show.

“I listen to the podcast all the time and I came to the last show in November,” said audience member Justin Mundino. “I die every time, although I would be too nervous to perform up there,” he said, adding that the show reminds him of his youth.

The entire show is broadcast on iTunes, with the podcast entering the charts within the top 10 upon every release. During the halftime break of the show, Misener rushed backstage to upload the first half of the recording online, demonstrating just how popular the production has become.

I must even admit that, as someone who loathes traditional comedy, I cracked a wide smile when one reader launched into an entire ode about wild mushrooms.

It appears that revisiting old childhood memories does indeed lead to uncontrollable giggles, and the show seems to have this formula down pat and bottled to perfection. The next shows are later on this month in Calgary and Halifax, with a new Montreal show likely in the future.  


For more information visit https://grownupsreadthingstheywroteaskids.com or check out the podcast on iTunes.


The wrongly attributed the author to Sandra Hercegová, and the article has been since updated online. The Concordian regrets this error.

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