*I won Beauty Queens by Libba Bray from YABookshelf
This novel was laugh out loud funny in a witty way. The hyperbole of commercials, product placement, obsession with appearances, shady corporations and politicians was humourous and cutting. Misogyny, racism, homophobia, and the shallow artificial of reality TV are explored through satire. The footnotes were hilarious and really made the book stand out from anything I’ve ever read.
I think this book succeeded in expressing the message the novel XVI attempted to. It explores the mixed messages that girls are given about their sexuality. They are pressured into being sexualized at a young age but are not supposed to feel desire, only inspire it. The media tells the girls in the story that being sexy is everything, but having sex is wrong. Libba Bray’s writing is feminist and empowering, but she pokes fun at the female characters even more than the males. It’s not anti-makeup but is a bit didactic in the push for better priorities.
I’m having trouble summing up this book. It’s like if Lord of The Flies was interspersed with commercials, sex scenes, and with a funny feminist edge. One of the characters compares their situation to Lord of The Flies and comments that the boys in that book lost their humanity on the island, but the girls in this one had to go to an island to find theirs. To stop being what people wanted them to be, and just be themselves.
I also enjoyed the V-for-vendetta like plot about the fake terrorist attack and murder of their own people as an excuse to go for the resources of a developing country. This is unfortunately something we need to think about, what with fear mongering, greedy politicians abound.
I think this would be an awesome book to go along with media awareness curriculum, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable as a casual read.