wayfarers all

children's literature, childhood and culture (and anything else that strikes my fancy).

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Location: pittsburgh, U.S. Outlying Islands

carbon-based life form: thinking, reading and gardening. New College alum; current grad student writing a dissertation. I specialize in children's literature, media, and culture, and queer/gender studies, with a strong interest in 19th century British literature and culture. I like history, a lot.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Traveling Pants

I did a whirlwind weekend reading of Ann Brashares' Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Second Summer of the Sisterhood.

What did i think of these fluff-for-the-younger-set books?

I don't know. Honestly. At times, i found the girliness of the books - the worrying about being fat, the fretting over hair and clothes and boys - extremely distasteful, especially since Brashares lets us know early in the first book that all four girls are fairly slim and attractive, especially jock Bridget and artist/introvert/beauty Lena. the incessant optimism kind of irked me too - even when Bad Things Happen, the girls learn Valuable Life Lessons and come to appreciate their friends even more!

BUT - that said, i zipped through the two novels in less than 48 hours (not really record time, i know), but i found them compelling enough to not set them aside for other projects (like reconfiguring my study, which i did tonight. i'm running out of Good books to read).

the shifting perspective of the first book really appealed to my narratological interest. especially since the four girls were so distinctly isolated from one another - in greece, in mexico, in dc, in south carolina. i also must admit i like the setting - the girls' hometown is DC (actually, i think it might be bethesda but i'm not sure) and since i spent three years in the district, it was nice to run into familiar places (the nine thirty club!).

Isolating the girls this way also helped illuminate how very different from each other they are. in this sense, brashares has done quite a nice job of character-creation: four girls, similar enough you can believe in their friendship, different enough to keep things interesting and give them distinct personalities.

overall: i'm going to look for the third installment as soon as i can get myself to the library (possibly tomorrow, especially if i can make myself go over to school to swim). i'm also going to check out the Traveling Pants movie coming out this week - though i am braced for disappointment, the film/lit adaptation class i took this spring has given me some much-needed looseness of perspective on films "based upon" books i've enjoyed.

traveling pants + sequels = great summer reading!


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