NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t AIR

When writer Allison Pearson was growing up in Wales in the mid-1970s, she thought she knew exactly what it would take to woo David Cassidy, the teen idol who played Keith in The Partridge Family. The color brown. And lots of it. “I had read, when I was a child, that his favorite color was brown, and so for about 18 months during my precious adolescence, I had worn brown,” she says. “And I looked absolutely dreadful in brown because I was a very skinny, sallow little girl. I looked yellow in brown.” But Pearson didn’t only change her appearance. She also worked on her diction. A Welsh accent, she was sure, would never attract Cassidy’s attention. “I taught myself lots of American expressions just so he wouldn’t think that [I] was a stupid Welsh girl,” she says. “Americans say ‘mad’ meaning ‘angry,’ not ‘crazy.’ And [they say] ‘bathroom,’ not ‘loo.’ These crucial distinctions were going to endear me to him … just in case David Cassidy happened to be in South Wales, which was 5,000 miles away from his home in California, but you never knew when you needed to have all of the facts about him at your disposal.” Pearson, now 50, eventually stopped pining for Cassidy. She became a columnist for London’s Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph and wrote a best-selling novel about middle-class working mothers called I Don’t Know How She Does It. But now she’s translated her teenage obsession with Cassidy into a second novel, I Think I Love You. It’s about, not surprisingly, a teenage girl named Petra who’s living in Wales in 1974, who falls madly in love with David Cassidy. MORE

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