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

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
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Apr 13, 09

bookshelves: audio, young-adult, chick-lit
Read in April, 2009

This book has a lot of charm and is quite entertaining. It is the story of a fifteen year old sophomore at an expensive East coast boarding school who blossoms over the summer and captures a popular senior as her boyfriend. He is a member of a secret boy's society and she (Frankie) wants in. Because the boys won't let her in she ends up covertly taking over the club (through emails) and, being an ambitious girl, masterminding their greatest ever pranks.

What is wrong with this picture? "Patriarchy", under attack here, is a straw dog. Not that men would never try to exclude women anymore, but it doesn't work. This novel is stuck in first-wave feminism, so it doesn't have much relevance to the world today. Most middle class men are like the character Porter in the book, not into macho-world. If they're not like Porter, I don't want to associate with them, and neither would Frankie. So even though the book is as fun as can be, its premises rest on untruths. Its old fashionedness could explain its appeal to adults and the fact that it was bracketed in the Morning News Tournament of Books this year. It was KO-ed in the first round.

Edited to add: There is an approving attitude toward being counter-cultural in this novel. That is a good lesson for young, or any age, readers.
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message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate "This novel is stuck in first-wave feminism, so it doesn't have much relevance to the world today. Most middle class men are like the character Porter in the book, not into macho-world."
I agree that most guys these days, in that age range, are not 1950s era women haters or anything, but misogyny and sexism definitely still exist. What Frankie is railing against is gender roles. She is expected to be cute, sweet, uncomplicated. She doesn't feel respected for her intelligence. She sees her friends and peers fall into these gender roles, and she knows it's not right.


Beverly I guess I've been lucky in my associates; if I (hardly ever) encounter old-fashioned sexism I guess I just stomp on it. As far as sex roles, any person of any sex does better in life by using charm and cooperation, but I don't see men expecting women to be always sweet and uncomplicated. Not being young I guess I don't see much youthful interaction, but from what I have observed I don't see stupid expectations from either sex.


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