Sunday, January 18, 2009

LIS 722: Week 3

This week's books: Go Ask Alice by Anonymous & The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. The theme of the week is: "Independence/On Their Own/The Journey".

This week I'm part of a group that's going to do a presentation on Go Ask Alice. It's a classic, sure, and was the first of its kind as far as 'problem novels' go, but I'm thinking my group is going to just light it up. One of us has a major issue with the fact that although it's supposed to be written from a 15 year-old's point of view, it wasn't (it was written/"edited" by a grown woman). Another of us thinks there were better books to choose from now that perhaps would've been more relevant. Another of us doesn't care much one way or the other, but just wants to inflict the made-for-TV movie on the rest of the class (Hey, now, I'm only *1* of the three; all of these opinions are not my own).

Anyway, Go Ask Alice is about a young teen who mistakenly ends up hooked on drugs after she goes to a party and gets a Coke laced with LSD. She doesn't get hooked right away; it's more a slow but steady slide. She alternates between moments of complete lucidity and complete addiction. The book's diary entries detail her descent into the 'drug world' and her struggles to get and stay clean. Ultimately, the demons of drug addiction are too much, and in the epilogue, we are told she is dead; from drugs, suicide, or what, we are not told.

Going from that to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was a 180 degree change. The Sisterhood is made up of 4 girls who have known each other almost all of their lives. Faced with the prospect of spending the summer apart from each other, they find a way to stay connected via a pair of 'magical' pants (simplified version, I know). What's interesting is how the girls learn to cope with the different challenges that arise in their lives. Some lash out, some get introspective, all grow as people.

I'm not sure Go Ask Alice is a book that teens would freely choose to read; some of the teens I talked to this week about the book thought it sounded "lame", "corny", and "too much like what an English teacher would assign for class" (Yup, yup, and bingo). The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants gets more readers, but it's usually the pre-teens, or the ones just making the jump from the easier chapter books (intermediate books) to the "big kids" chapter books.

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