Megan's Reviews > Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
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May 12, 2012

did not like it
Read from May 02 to 09, 2012

The beginning was so very promising with its satirical humor and quirky footnotes, and the ending was quite solid, but oh my gosh the middle...oh the middle...the middle was so...so...political. This is not to say that I necessarily disagree with the views toted throughout the book - in fact I agree with a lot of the ideals (with some exceptions). What I do not like is reading a book that is blatantly forcing its ideology on me at every turn of a page.

Libba Bray focused so much time on preaching her feminist ideology throughout the story that just about every other element was thrown to the wayside. One of the things thrown by the wayside was the characters - while she did manage to whittle down the 50 beauty queens to 13 survivors, I feel that 13 was still too much for her to handle. While two or three characters are constantly recognizable, the large majority of them are indistinguishable from one another, and the book's underlying message of "everyone is an individual" becomes incredibly pointless when I can't even keep the characters straight.

(warning, there are minor spoilers in this paragraph)
There were also flaws in terms of individual characterizations. One that stands out to me is Adina - she's supposed to be the educated one in the book who realizes that the media is constantly objectifying women. At many points in the book she comments on how the other girls are more focused on pageant prep than survival. Then, come the middle of the book, Adina is the one who meets a shipwrecked pirate and sleeps with him within only 24 hours of meeting him. Oh she protests adamantly at first, but then oh how she is overcome by her own sexuality... It's ridiculous. Adina's character at the beginning of the book wouldn't have done that from my own reading interpretation.

In the end, the book's failings ruined any appreciation I may have gleaned from the book's few shining moments. I'm the sort of person who likes to read a story that presents its events to you as is, allowing you to create your own opinions for yourself. A book that tells me what I'm supposed to think is just annoying.
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