"Beauty Queens" is a guilty pleasure. It is a comic cross of "Lord of the Flies", "Lost" and anything by Sophie Kinsella.
On their way to the Miss Teen...more"Beauty Queens" is a guilty pleasure. It is a comic cross of "Lord of the Flies", "Lost" and anything by Sophie Kinsella.
On their way to the Miss Teen Dream Pageant fifty contestants find themselves stranded on a mysterious tropical isle. As they realize no one is coming to their immediate aid they must forge a way to survive. The girls begin to break up into two groups; one reliant on beauty pageant rules and the other with a more basic agenda. (Food and shelter vs. straight hair and studied outfits).
With some very funny and ironic happenings, it becomes clear the island is not as deserted as once believed.
This is a bubbly funny look at pageant life,conformity,peer pressure and common sense with some barbs left over for corporate marketing and manipulation. It will tickle your funny bone.(less)
This quietly compelling novel tells the story of two contemporary American every-men, actually man/boys, who find themselves fighting for survival ami...moreThis quietly compelling novel tells the story of two contemporary American every-men, actually man/boys, who find themselves fighting for survival amidst the chaos and cultural upheaval of the 2nd gulf war in Iraq 2005.
Nothing in their backgrounds or experience has prepared them for this circumstance; neither urban nor worldly, they might as well be marching on the far side of the moon.
The story is narrated by Private Bartle, 21 at the time of his service, focusing on his friendship with Private Murphy 18,who he has unwittingly promised to keep safe. As both soldiers deal with the heat, the carnage, the exhaustion and the alienation of their new normal, it becomes clear that "Murph" does not have the emotional armor to navigate this world. Private Bartle's failure to return his colleague safely home despite his best efforts creates the tension and pathos of the story. We see Murphy unable to take in the menace and horror of this environment and translate his experience into caution and wariness. Bartle's personal journey of regret and cover up reflects America's own conflicted role in this war.
Moving, spare, and emotionally engaging, this novel explores the impossible emotional pressures young men and women face far away from home navigating the unnatural hierarchy of military service on one hand and the role of outsider, stranger and enemy in a place very different from their own on the other. Replete with exceptional violence and ambiguity the characters never have the respite of a safe place. Very well done.(less)
This book covers much of the same ground as Zadie Smith's previous novels. It tells the story of the urban immigrant struggle in Britain, where educat...moreThis book covers much of the same ground as Zadie Smith's previous novels. It tells the story of the urban immigrant struggle in Britain, where education and hard work don't necessarily lead to acceptance into the greater community and life is further complicated by segregation, crime, drugs, racism and identity.
I did not find this novel as interesting or compelling as her previous work. Somehow the characters, storyline and themes never meshed nor were they elevated by Ms. Smith's prose. That is why I give this book a disappointed rating of three.