Monday, April 20, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Loved Frankie. Only mostly loved the book. The main thing that kept this from a 5-star read was the writing style. It just wasn't totally my thing. The 3rd person narrator interludes were a bit off-putting to me, and it just sounded pretentious at times.

(For instance, "How does a person become the person she is? What are the factors in her culture, her childhood, her education, her religion, her economic stature, her sexual orientation, her race, her everyday interactions--what stimuli lead her to make choices other people will despise her for? This chronicle is an attempt to mark out the contributing elements in Frankie Landau-Banks's character. What led her to do what she did: things she would later view with a curious mixture of hubris and regret. Frankie's mental processes had been stimulated by Ms. Jensson's lectures on the panopticon , her encounters with Alpha, her mother's refusal to let her walk into town on the Jersey Shore, her observation of the joy Matthew took in rescuing her from her bicycle accident, and her anger at Dean for not remembering her. All these were factors in what happened next... (107)"

All the talk about the panopticon was totally interesting, but written weirdly, in my opinion - it was written like an encyclopedia or a biology textbook, not like a novel. I get that it is written in sort of the essay style as a parallel to Frankie's own essay on the subject, but it was just kind of annoying and distracting to me.

That said, I LOVED Frankie. What a fabulous character. Matthew and Alpha and Trish were also spot on. But really, Frankie. She was just so interesting and punchy and awesome-girl-power-esque, without being crazy (which some thought her to be, but from seeing her progression, she decidedly was not). So yeah, awesome characterization.

All in all, aside from some writing shortcomings (style, ending, etc.), I'd recommend this wholeheartedly.

[Total sidenote: for those of you who appreciated the aardvark/ardvark post, you will totally love the use of neglected positives in this book. :))

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