Saturday, December 6, 2008

Empowerment...I Guess

It's always hard gearing back up after a break, but I know that I have three weeks (two at this point) until I leave for Hawaii!!! I can't believe how quickly the past four months have sped on by. Yes, I can see that the final six of this school year will also pass by in a scary way. Can I just say though how much I'm enjoying teaching this year? I know it's odd for me, since I usually only complain out of my exhaustion, but I really did want to mention how much I'm enjoying my classes this year. Whew...reassures me again that even though teachers get paid very little, that I'm doing something I actually enjoy.

Well, at the end of the break, I'd started The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. I'd read about it somewhere--can't remember where now--and picked it up at the library. At the end of Thanksgiving Break, I was watching a Book Award show on CNN and noticed that this novel won an award for young adult fiction, so thought I'd better get to reading it.

Frankie is the central, female, teenage character of the novel, who attends boarding school with multiple other teenage characters who come from wealthy families. As a prestigious boarding school, it is rife with the typical academic banter and study groups, but is the secret society element that seems to be central to the novel. Early on, Frankie begins dating a popular young man, who allows Frankie to be part of the "gang" of boys that all hang together--and each has a girlfriend more as a "rite" than anything else. Frankie quickly notices that she is constantly discounted because she is a girl, and as a teenager who is riddled with angst, she always second guesses her role with her boyfriend and his friends. Eventually, Frankie gets somewhat fed up of being a second class citizen in her relationship and begins tagging her boyfriend to his "secret" meetings and soon find herself in the middle of a secret society, armed with a secret weapon, and able to wield a little bit of power behind everyone's back.

I'm still not 100% sure if I like this novel or not. The feminist bent to the story grated on my nerves a little, and that's hard to do with me!!! I think it was the fact that it was so blatantly stated or shown, over and over again, that annoyed me. This is my question though. Did the author do that as a way of focusing her young readers in on an issue that they might not acknowledge--gender discrepancy. I'm not sure. I did cheer Frankie on through those last 100 pages, but will have to stew on this one a little longer to decide how I feel about the novel as a whole.

Off to grade and get more work done! Mahalo!

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