Although The Boyfriend List didn't blow me away, I'm pretty sure my teenage self would've eaten this up. It's a convincing story of the trials and tri...moreAlthough The Boyfriend List didn't blow me away, I'm pretty sure my teenage self would've eaten this up. It's a convincing story of the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl involving girl-girl friendships, the first forays into romance and boys, and the blossoming of her sexuality -and trying to understand all of this as well as coming to understand oneself.
Ruby Oliver A nice girl whose teenage voice and the situations she finds herself in feel authentic. She's honest but has a hard time seeing the truth of things. She's a terrible judge of character with an inability to express how she feels to the people who've wronged her so she comes off as a doormat with a bad reputation. Instead she internalizes her frustrations, turning her anger inwards resulting in several panic attacks in the 10 days of hell she experiences.
The Parental Units Ruby's dad -Mr. Positive and the calm, rational one. Advocates forgiveness and understanding. Ruby's mother -Mrs. Negative and the attention-seeking, loud and irrational one. Advocates expressing anger, jumping to conclusions and making judgements.
Together they're combustible, in an irritating I-hope-you-get-divorced kind of way. Arguments are the soundtrack to Ruby's home life. She has to put up with them interfering in every facet of her life, over-analysing her behaviour and each giving her conflicting advice. The reason for their unnecessarily overwrought reactions seems to be the mother's need to exaggerate with her father responding by trying to calm things down. These two alone are enough to send Ruby running to a therapist.
The Therapist Mostly unobtrusive though her therapy-talk became annoying really fast. I hated the leading questions and nudges for Ruby to come to conclusions on her own, even knowing they were necessary, because quite frankly Ruby wasn't so good at it. I pretty much wanted to take her to one side and point out where she was going wrong. But I'm impatient like that. It's an agonisingly slow process, getting to know oneself.
The "Friends" Paraphrasing Noel's words: Who needs enemies when you have Ruby's friends. Users and abusers, the lot of them. Respect and loyalty disappeared as soon as it was inconvenient. In a crisis you find out who your real friends are. In Ruby's case, she was surprised to find an acquaintance she previously assumed to be a whore that she used as transportation to and from school, actually saw Ruby as her one and only friend, and therefore valued her more than the rumours of Ruby's supposed wrongdoings. Outcasts she'd once thought creepy and weird turned out to be good people who came to her rescue in different ways. This opened her eyes to people, possibilities and opportunities beyond her small high school, helping her take that crucial first step away from her old clique-lifestyle.
The Asshole Jackson is the reason for this whole mess. His selfishness, immaturity and treatment of girls, is appalling. Girls aren't tissues to be used and disposed of in preference for a fresh one. The lies this guy tells, and his cowardly behaviour, is disrespectful and so shameful it's practically criminal. He deserves a taste of his own medicine. However, he and Kim appear to be a match made in heaven. They're both as bad each other. I really hope Ruby gets over him quickly, he's too toxic to moon over.
The Guys You Want To Know Even though Ruby's sworn off the male species for now, when she's ready there are interesting, mature, and above all, good guys for her to hang out with and get to know:
1) Noel - supportive and unafraid of non-conforming, he's the same age as Ruby and goes to the same school.
2) Gideon - older, an unlikely love interest who freely shares his wisdom with Ruby, inspiring her.
3) Angelo - considerate and polite but goes to a different school.
All three show a maturity, kindness and understanding worth exploring further. Noel especially, is good friend / love interest material. He intrigues me.
a) What's with all the footnotes? They're extremely important to read but they disrupted the reading flow and I gradually stopped referring to them.
b) There were times I was a little bored of the angst and the chick-litty-ness of it all. It's not my genre, I admit. Friends' high-rated reviews spurred me on to read this, ones who also share my propensity to avoid chick-lit.
c) I'm not sure why the word "shattered" was used so much, and in sometimes strange contexts, at least strange to me.
d) I turned the last page thinking there would be more to it and actually thought, "Is that it?" Perhaps I just needed a better closing paragraph.
Despite these I'm a little curious what Ruby will do next in her various relationships.
Strange, my copy is called Diary of a Crush: American Dream. I loved this when I read it as a young teenager, so much so that I wanted to go on a road...moreStrange, my copy is called Diary of a Crush: American Dream. I loved this when I read it as a young teenager, so much so that I wanted to go on a road trip across the States too.(less)