Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

I enjoyed this - to an extent. Frankie is a very intelligent young woman at a prestigious private school that prepares students for Ivy League Universities. Frankie is doing her best to break into the all-male secret society on campus. I thought Frankie was smart and hilarious and I really enjoyed her adventures, which include orchestrating some seriously elaborate pranks on campus. I even learned a few new vocab words, panopticon in particular. I particularly loved her little plays on language. She gives a whole little lecture on "neglected positives" in language. Let me illustrate:

Prefixes such as in, non, un, dis, and im make a word negative:
restrained (positive)
unrestrained (negative)
possible (positive)
impossible (negative)

Well, Frankie decided that there are neglected positives. Why isn't the opposite of impetuous, petuous? Inept, ept? Disturbed, turbed? Anyway, I'm a language nerd, so I thought that was really funny. She uses her neglected positives throughout the book and they become essential to the plot.

Truly, my only complaint about this book, which was otherwise funny and clever, was its feminist overtones. I'm not wholly against all feminists. On the contrary, having studied literature a bit has made me realize how much of a feminist I really am. There have been some seriously insulting injustices against women in history. I just think that some feminists take it too far. This book shows one particular feminist trait I despise: the belief that all men are pointless and worthless. I can't say exactly how this comes about in the book without spoiling any of the plot, but I left feeling like, "Really? Did it really have to be like that?" It's too bad, because otherwise this book would have left me feeling very turbed.

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