Saturday, July 30, 2011

Different for Girls

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to write about Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. You guys, this book was delightful. And I mean that in the purest form – it actually filled me with delight more than once.  The basic premise of the book is that a group of girls traveling to a Miss Teen Dream Pageant crash land on a “deserted” island. Of course, the island isn’t challenge enough, so they are forced to face a corrupt Corporation, a power-mad former beauty queen (modeled maybe just a bit on Sarah P., 2nd runner-up to Miss Alaska), and a mad-mad dictator with a stuffed lemur named General Good Times for a best friend/trusted advisor. 

I’ve read a few reviews talking about the contrast/subversion to Lord of the Flies, but as Joe Jackson knew so well, It's Different For Girls. Instead of degenerating  into survival of the fittest, the girls work together, with all the skills garnered for competing in pageants. The joy in learning that baton twirling and straight iron skills have real-life, life-saving applications frees the girls to be, finally, what they are. And, being from Texas, I was especially pleased to see Miss Texas, Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins, go feral and take over the whole stinking jungle.

The dialogue is funny and realistic, but the footnotes were genius.  The brilliant Corporation product placements and commercials were a strong callback to Better Off Ted and Veridian Dynamics. This is my favorite summer read so far.


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