aka YA Literature

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

I know this book has been out for a couple of months now, and I wasn't going to blog about it since it's taken me this long to get around to reading it, but I just loved it so much that (a) I keep thinking about it, and (b) I wanted to gush. I think one of the main reasons I liked it so much is that I could really relate to the main character (Frankie). And I loved what she ended up doing, I admire her choices, and I love how Lockhart ended the novel.

I don't think my feminism was quite as developed as Frankie's was when I was her age. Like Zada, it really took college to help me to see the need for feminism, to have the vocabulary for naming and interpreting oppression (even in my everyday life), and and to have the willingness to call myself a feminist. But regardless, I certainly could relate to Frankie's dilemmas between her feminist ideals (even when she wasn't labeling them as such) and her desire to just want friends and a cute boy to like her.

There were so many amazing moments in the book that it's hard to choose favorites, but I think my two favorites were probably when she let Porter have it for telling her not to let herself get taken advantage of (poor guy, I'm sure he was just trying to be nice, but really, I think Frankie was right to point out how patronizing it appeared) and when Frankie dared to sit alone at the senior table. Amazing how such seemingly inconsequential things can actually be so huge and require such courage! Most impressive of all to me was how Lockhart created these situations (that, let's be honest, happen all the time in relationships) where Frankie couldn't just say the first thing that came to mind or felt the most natural; she had to "strategize." It's sad that we have to act this way in relationships, but it's so true. I think this is my very favorite part, when Frankie realizes/thinks that Matt is standing her up because he is mad at her for sitting at the senior table and emasculating him:

When I act the way I acted, Matthew doesn't like me as much as he does when I fall off my bicycle.

Is he breaking up with me?

What can I do? Frankie thought. What can I say? Is there anything I can say that will make him change his mind?

Don't sound whiny. Don't sound defensive. Don't sound pitiful. Don't sound angry.

I can't say any of the things I feel, because none of them are any good.

Can't say, "But you promised."

Can't say, "I put on makeup. I did my nails, I looked forward to it all day."

Can't say, "Are you breaking up with me?"

I can't lose him.

I can't lose them, either.

What will get me what I want?

A couple of other longer great paragraphs follow, but I am too lazy to type them out. Anyway, I adore that part. How many women have not felt this? I am so in awe of Lockhart for capturing this so utterly perfectly. I love this book. This needs to be on the Amelia Bloomer list for sure.

P.S. The characterization in this book is amazing! Even the secondary characters are really complex and well-developed, but I really liked the little fun parts where Frankie adopts INPs from Wodehouse and Trish points out how weird this can be.

1 comment:

Ink Mage said...

It's really nice to hear at least one good review of this; a lot of people seem to dislike it, even if they're E. Lockhart fans.
I have this one in my book bag awaiting reading, so if I feel like it, I should be reviewing it soon.