Sharon's Reviews > The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
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it was ok

A 2.5 for me.

When I was about 16, I used to write stories. I'd cut pictures of actors or actresses or models out of J17 magazines or Bliss magazines and design my own covers and characters. Nine times out of ten, the plot would go like this: Plain Girl (almost always a picture of Katie Holmes) likes Hot Rude Rebel Boy (usually Freddie Prinze Jr or the man from the DKNY ad or that model Dan from J17). Rebel Boy is rude to Plain Girl. Plain Girl and Rebel Boy are put together in unlikely twist of fate (school assignment, community project, parental connections etc). Rebel Boy decides he likes Plain Girl then changes his Rebel Boy ways and attempts to woo her. Plain Girl says "ugh, go away, I hate you" at which point Rebel Boy plants a hot, sexy, hard kiss on Plain Girl's mouth, she would melt into his arms and there the story would end.

I also went through a phase of writing about hot single Dads, but you get the idea.

In "The DUFF" (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) - 17 year old Bianca is harbouring a crush on nerdy Toby Tucker. Man-whore (Keplinger's words, not mine) Wesley Rush chats Bianca up in an effort to make her hot friends think he's decent. He tells her that she is the DUFF of the group - the least hot one that guys approach in order to get to the hot girls. HE TELLS HER THIS. She throws a drink in his face, then repeatedly uses him for sex. That escalated quickly, yes? Throw in a bit of family drama and some attempts at escapism and metaphors, and we end up with a mish-mash that I find hard to review.

"The DUFF" was very obviously written by a horny teenager (Keplinger was 17 when she wrote it). Which is fine - teenagers are horny. In this book, the sex wasn't the problem. The characters were all of age, they practised safe sex, and they didn't do anything the other didn't want. Great - but what the hell was the point of the book? Because I came away from it with no more insight into the characters at the end than when I started. If I had read this as a teenager I'd probably have fancied the arse off Wesley, which I suppose was the point, but was it necessary to bring Wuthering Heights into it? Was it necessary to bring the fleeting alcoholism into it? The slap?

Bianca's mother is one of the most irritating characters I've read about in a long, long time. She was a non-parent. Would a mother really ring her daughter at 5am to tell her that her Dad wasn't coping well? NO. For a woman who specialised in Self-Esteem, her attitude and behaviour towards Bianca didn't match with that. Also, if this woman preaches about Self-Esteem, she has obviously taught Bianca nothing in her seventeen years. Bianca immediately adopts the word "DUFF" for herself and feels self conscious and less than her friends - when she is clearly neither ugly nor fat. Where the hell was all her mother's expertise when this was going on? You have a teenage daughter, you write a self-help book, and you teach your daughter nothing? Way to go, Ms. Piper. Slow clap for you.

Parts of this book really irritated me, but I tried to switch my 'Mammy Head' off and approach it with an open mind. It was all over the place, it sent out mixed signals, and it tried to be older than it was. It didn't know if it was a sweet romance or a horny romp. Which, I suppose, describes me pretty well at 17 so considering it was written by a 17 year old trying to find her place in the world, that's not a surprise.

What is a surprise is how anyone could see enough in this to turn it into a movie. There is no plot.

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Reading Progress

December 29, 2014 – Shelved
December 29, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
May 3, 2015 – Started Reading
May 4, 2015 – Finished Reading

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