Kristin's Reviews > The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
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's review
Aug 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: body-self, gender-issues, girls, philosophy, read-in-2012, reader-s-advisory, self-worth, ya, ya-for-adults-club, favorites
Read from August 14 to 21, 2012

Check this review out and others on my blog: Get Real.

Was I ever late to the party on this one! However, in this case, it's better to be late than miss this book altogether. It's brilliant. It's a smart book for the smart set, and will fulfill the right reader entirely. Frankie Landau-Banks has begun her sophomore year a physically different person, but little does she know that she will end this school year a different person altogether. When faced with the view of the glass ceiling, rather than find more pleasant scenery elsewhere, she attempts to put her fist through it. The reader will have to decide whether or not she succeeds.

There are numerous levels to this book. It's the kind of book avid fans of literature and literary discussion will eat up. On a personal note, I really enjoyed the myriad references to Foucault's Panopticon. Read that essay in college, and it applies to this story in many ways. It's all about how people behave when they believe they're being watched, and this book is all about watching. Boys watch girls, girls watch boys and boys and girls watch themselves. This book is also about the dynamics of social interaction. Frankie volleys with multiple characters, though her most notable games of social tennis involve Alpha, a character with as much to prove as Frankie.

I spent a lot of time considering and analyzing this book, and I have yet to really process all of its facets. With all due respect to the author, I'm not sure she knew what she had here. I feel like more is going on than she possibly intended. On a superficial level, this is a fun read about high school kids pulling off pranks, but that's not what this story is really about. It's a book about feminism. Should that word scare off gentle readers, I would consider grabbing something innocuous like a Sarah Dessen book or perhaps some other story about a basic meet-cute with predictable results. However, I believe in the reading population, and I think this book will delight many people.

Here's an interesting video series featuring YA author Kristin Cashore (Graceling) and some other YA Internet types as they analyze the various aspects of this book. The Disreputable Analysis of Frankie Landau-Banks

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