Jessi's Reviews > Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
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's review
Jul 02, 2012

really liked it
Read in June, 2012

This took me forever to finish. Probably due to the amount of characters and stream of conscience writing style.

But I liked this book...even if I didn't really like this book. It was utterly entertaining, fun and original with a depth you wouldn't think possible. It was also mentally and emotionally exhausting. So much of our culture tells women that they are only their looks, and then turns around and tells them that their brains count, too...sort of, maybe, sometimes. It seems like women have to choose one or the other. Be the ugly, smart girl or be the beautiful knock-out airhead. In reality, that just doesn't work.

Beauty Queens takes these conflicting views and presents it in an over-the-top fashion that is no less impactful. It plays off the ridiculous expectations put on women, both by themselves and by culture and media. In fact, the media (herein known as "The Corporation") is a driving force throughout the novel.

There are so many unique elements to this book that are both refreshing and amusing, it had me laughing with genuine humour. My favorite being the footnotes. They were clever and absurd yet resembled, and often times mocked, our media driven culture.

"Loch Lomond, the sexy and manly spy in a series of popular Scottish crime capers. Known for his fancy gadgets, fast cars, beautiful women who often end up dead, and his trademark phrase 'I'll have the haggis--boiled, not fried.'"

My only disappointment with Beauty Queens comes from the "where they are now" ending that reminded me too much of Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan. Not exactly sure why, but ending a rather profound journey of self discovery with marriage and kids irks me. I know that doesn't apply to all the characters and I'm not saying that it's wrong, or that self-assured women can't or don't do that...but it leaves me with a depressing feeling that no one really expects anything more out of women.
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