Sunday, 17 May 2015

Review #29 - The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Published: 2008


A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)

Fifteen-year-old Frankie Landau-Banks has grown up a lot over the summer. She's no longer daddy's little girl - and almost immediately after starting the new semester at her highly prestigious school, she bags goofy-but-gorgeous Matthew Livingston as her boyfriend. They get along great but then Frankie discovers that Matthew is a member of a boys-only secret society that specialise in 'hilarious' pranks. Which hardly seems fair... especially when Frankie knows she's smarter than any of its members. And to prove this, she's going to teach them a lesson.
Impersonating lead member Alpha by using a fake email account is surprisingly easy, and soon Frankie is setting the boys up with all sorts of ridiculous schemes and sending them on wild goose chase after wild goose chase. Alpha's not prepared to lose face and admit it's not him sending the emails - but the fun can't last forever, and soon Frankie will have to choose between what she think she wants, and the reputation she deserves.

It took 38 pages for me to really get into this book, and I think it's because of the style of writing. It took me until the last couple of pages to truly understand the brilliance of the way this book is written, and I'm slightly ashamed of that.

I don't quite know where to begin.

The characters within this book call Frankie a 'psychopath'. I disagree; I think she's a sociopath, and it is portrayed so effectively that you don't even realise it until you're staring at the very last page, and you think, hold on, what on earth has just happened.

I have no idea who the narrator of this book is. Who is the narrator? Can you tell me, Lockhart? Tell me who is writing this book with the personal pronouns, but staying as an omnipresent being and just. Who. Is. It.

This book challenges what people would consider the 'gender norms'; it stays loyal to the female protagonist, and promotes the equality of men and women- by highlighting the social differences between the two.

It was startlingly real, making it a very powerful feminist read for me, and I fell in love with it as soon as I discovered that element. This book shows the realism of friendship, the social hierarchy, and how even 'just' punishment is, in fact, unjust.

It is the tale of one girl's downward spiral after she realises how cruel the old, out dated patriarchal system around her is, and shows just how much of a cunning strategist she is to attempt to challenge it and change it- the argument comes in when you try to understand just how successful she is (or isn't).

I really was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I had enjoyed we were liars, but I honestly, truly did- and maybe it was because Lockhart did that thing again.

You know, that thing where she rights horrifically bad endings that are so ugly and non-resolute that they're fantastic. I don't consider the ending of this book an 'ending', I just consider it, well- a stop. And it is so effective! It gives off the vibe that Frankie's life and story isn't over, that she's going to carry on living her life as per usual, except in a way that we will never find out about.

If you're into strong female leads and politics and the way gender stereotyping works, then this book is a must for you.

Rating: 5/5
"It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can't see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people."

“Secrets are more powerful when people know you've got them.”

“"You have some balls." Frankie hated that expression, ever since Zada had pointed out to her that it equates courage with the male equipment.”

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