Monday, April 10, 2006

Where's the #%*@ Compass?

Despite having an intriguing cover that captures a dash of poignancy, and despite having luminous praise from the likes of Sarah Dessen, Ann Martin, Sonya Sones and, curiously, Julia Stiles, The Geography of Girlhood by Kristen Smith lacks, in my opinion, balance or any clear navigation. Two years of a teenage girl's life is loosely listed within, in the terribly trendy prose poetry/novel in poems format. The author deals with the emotions of Penny from an arms-length, an unusual feat as, in my experience, emotions should be all the closer from that poetry format. I never really connected with Penny. I didn't really even feel for her when her acting debut COMPLETELY flopped (how mortifying) because Penny didn't really even care, although not caring about what others think wasn't really characteristic of her, or any other 9th grader. And why didn't Smith delve in to the often mined and always effective by-golly-there's-no-mother issue?

I didn't realize it until after I read the entire book, but Kristen Smith is apparently the cowriter of the movies Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Ella Enchanted. This perhaps explains Julia Stiles, as well as being a good indication of the quality of the book itself - at times reflecting the brilliance of 10 Things, at others moments reflecting the utter horridness of Ella Enchanted, with a whole lot of the not-terribly-offensive of Legally Blond. But, like I said, this is just my opinion - feel free to read it and comment away (even if you don't get to it for another few months). Girls (obviously) 12+.

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