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by Abigail Van Buren

Family Passes the Buck for Overdue Library Book

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law allowed my 7-year-old daughter to use her library card. Unbeknownst to me, my daughter picked out a book and brought it home. A few weeks later, Grandma received a late notice from the library. My daughter and I found the book and walked it over to Grandma's house and laid it on her dining room table where she would be sure to see it and return it.

Later that same day, my 20-year-old daughter, who was helping Grandma move some things, inadvertently picked up the book and put it in her car. The book hasn't been seen since.

Grandma now wants my 7-year-old to pay the library $13 for the lost book. I know we should have taken the book back to the library ourselves, but I don't think this is fair. Who do you think should pay for the book? Grandma, my oldest daughter or my younger daughter? -- WHY-O-WHY-O IN OHIO

DEAR WHY-O: YOU should. And while you're at it, you should also get your young daughter her own library card and explain the rules to her. You'll be doing her a favor by giving her an early start in the right direction. Libraries are treasure troves for children.

DEAR ABBY: My mother and I are arguing over what is proper attire for an evening wedding in December. My nephew is being married, and the wedding will be held at 5 p.m. I want to wear a dressy black suit with a couple of strands of pearls, but my mother is furious with me! She feels it would be inappropriate to go to a wedding dressed "like I'm attending a funeral."

I have tried to explain that these days black is always acceptable regardless of the occasion, as long as the dress is in good taste. However, my mother says she will never believe that until she sees it in print. Can you help? -- FASHION SAVVY IN TEXAS

DEAR FASHION SAVVY: I'll try, but your mother is obviously a member of the "old school."

In recent decades, the old rules have relaxed to the point that black is now acceptable at weddings. In fact, some sophisticated brides opt for "black-and-white" weddings in which all attendants are requested to wear black.

Your dressy black suit for an evening wedding in December seems conservative, proper and tasteful to me.

DEAR ABBY: I am 13, in the eighth grade, and have been reading your column faithfully for two years.

I have become good friends with a freshman boy I will call "Tad." We were in a play together last year. He now plays in the high school band. Here is where the problem lies: The rest of my friends in the band don't like Tad. When I ask them why, their exact words are, "He's a fag" and "He's just weird."

Yes, he is quite weird, which is the reason I am drawn to him. My friends think I am absolutely nuts! Recently I revealed to one of them that I have a slight crush on Tad. She looked at me as if I were some kind of disgusting beast. I know I should ignore their comments, but I have the feeling there is something more I should do. What do you think? -- ODD DUCK IN SOUTH TEXAS

DEAR ODD DUCK: I think you have done enough already by defending Tad to your friends. Not every teen would be as brave or resolute and would knuckle under to peer pressure. Some of the most interesting and worthwhile people in the world are those who didn't fit into the mold when they were your age. Don't let anyone else choose your friends for you.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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