Caris's Reviews > Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
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's review
Apr 05, 11

bookshelves: 2011, young-adult
Read from March 29 to April 03, 2011

A group of teenage beauty queens board a plane headed for a photo shoot in some tropical destination. En route, something bad happens and the plane crashes. Amid the rubble and bodies, a relatively small group, maybe fifteen or so, survives. Any hope of rescue quickly proves pointless.

Imagine for a moment that everyone on Gilligan’s Island was Ginger, or that the island in Lord of the Flies was populated only by valley girls. At first, it’s strikingly stupid, isn’t it? Instead of focusing on rescue or preserving their lives, they paint their nails and work on their pageant talents. Really, there’s no reason why they should survive.

But, in spite of it all, they do. They survive quite well, in fact.

In this book, Libba Bray treats the beauty queen mentality as an extended metaphor for girlhood. Girls in our society (and countless others) are forced into some role or other, regardless of what might make them happy or content. In this case, they’re forced to embrace femininity to an absurd extreme: their bodies must be completely hairless, their make-up flawless. What they think isn’t nearly as important as how they look.

In the Southern United States a number of years ago, pigs escaped from their farms and started to inhabit the swampy parts of the wilderness. Over a few generations, they adapted to the wild. Men called them feral. This, in short, is what happens to the girls in this book. Free of the societal constraints that hold them to this particularly absurd caricature of life, they forge real friendships and learn about themselves. They find that they have thoughts and skills, that their contributions to society extend far beyond making the population a little nicer to look at.

Perhaps the text was forced in a few places. Perhaps it was cheesy.

But, then again, it presented a tolerant view of LGBQT issues. It portrayed sex as something not inherently evil. It showed that female empowerment isn’t as much an option as it is a necessity. What did you do today?
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Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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Caris I moved it up on my list so I could send it to you sooner.

karen wow - i need this book.

Sparrow Me too.

Caris You do.

Emily I can't wait to read this. I love Libba Bray.

Caris Brianna wrote: "Excellent! Glad you enjoyed it. I hope this fits as one of the books I can read for YA lit class..."

Me, too.

Emily wrote: "I can't wait to read this. I love Libba Bray."

I highly recommend it.

message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen Because you asked and because I am polite:

Today I read the June Goodreads Newsletter, saw this book, and read your and karen's reviews of it. Also I made mischief. I didn't save the world or anything.

message 8: by Jen (new)

Jen Because I did that yesterday.

And you are welcome. All of you.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, Jen.

karen thanks for bringing more mischief

Caris Thank you for the mischief.

Sparrow Nummsy wrote: "hi,
( )
My name is Nancy,i saw your profile today and became interested in you,i will also like to know you the more,and i want you to send an email to my email address so i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am and tell you more about myself, here is my email address ( ) i believe we can move from here. I am waiting. (Remember that distance or color does not matter but love matters a lot in life) reply me, please don't write to me in the site thanks, Nancy."

Didn't this spam have a different name on someone else's profile?

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I think the profiles get taken down really fast by Goodreads, so they make more and keep trucking.

There was a wonderful spam on one of Buck's threads a while back. That was like poetry.

message 15: by Sparrow (last edited Aug 03, 2011 10:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sparrow Wasn't it the same as this? Or did someone get a friend request with this in it?

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Was it Bells?

Sparrow hmmm. I thought it was a dude, but I have no idea.

message 18: by Jen (new)

Jen How come I never get special visits like this?

karen poor jen.

Sparrow I'm sure she would "visit" you if you wish.

Caris You guys are assholes. As soon as someone shows an interest in me, suddenly it's "spam." Or a "joke." Probably just "an accident."

Fuck you all.

Sparrow Sorry Caris!

Jen, looks like Brad got a girl, too:

Maybe if you changed your profile picture to something more suggestive like Caris' and Brad's.

Caris Meredith wrote: "Sorry Caris!"


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