aka YA Literature

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart

It's been a while since I read The Boyfriend List or The Boy Book, so even though I liked both books, I didn't immediately read my ARC of The Treasure Map of Boys. I just didn't have a burning desire to know what's happened to Ruby. And for a while as I read it, even though I was entertained by the plot, I was thinking two negative things: (1) Why is she SOOOO into boys? And after Lockhart wrote this amazing burgeoning feminist in Frankie, I felt very disappointed in Roo. Why is she doing this to herself and her friends? (2) I never had that many guys like me at once. How is this possible? And why do they like her so much?

But . . .

By the end, I felt like Ruby had some realistic breakthroughs that weren't all moralistic and completely rejecting of boys and not completely "I'm happy with who I am and I don't need a boy to be happy." After all, girls like boys! I like boys! People are generally attracted to others and happy when one (or more) of those others likes you back. And while I do think there is something to be said for not hooking up with a guy your good friend likes, I liked the idea that you forgive people you love. What I loved about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and what I think Lockhart does really well here again with Ruby is convey how complicated relationships and feelings can be, how sometimes you feel a way that you intellectually know is not right or healthy or helpful but you cannot seem to control it. It's hard to know what's right and sometimes hard to do that even if you know what it is. Sometimes making yourself happy means hurting others, or making one person happy means hurting another. So yes, the novel is cute, but it also captures a lot of complexity. And I also loved the notes that Noel wrote Ruby! There's a lot to be said for feelings expressed in words and then actually written down on paper to be read and savored. And his were so creative. I want notes like that.

5 comments:

Summer said...

nice review. I wish I had tons of boys crushing on me! lol

joanna said...

I felt that the influence of Frankie came through quite a bit in this one - especially with the Baby Chubbs. I'm such a sucker for Roo, though. She can -almost- do no wrong!

biblauragraphy said...

I'm looking forward to this one - thanks for sharing your thoughts!

notemily said...

See, that's why I love the Ruby books--because when I was that age, I was closer to boy-crazy Ruby than feminist Frankie Landau-Banks. I became more of a Frankie later, but I would have LOVED The Boyfriend List in high school. I would have pointed at it and said, "that's my life!"

So I appreciate Lockhart's range. I think there have to be books for the Rubies as well as the Frankies.

Sheryl said...

Another thing I should have mentioned is that I like that Ruby is not perfect. I think a lot of the time, the main character tends to be the one who is wronged, but it's nice to have the perspective of the evil slut-boyfriend-stealer (and then we can see that she's really not all that evil).