Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell


Kate sat down on the top of the steps and began drinking her milk shake. Her next-door neighbor Courtney was standing in her front yard. Courtney was six, and she thought everything Kate did was terrific. Kate could dump a bucket of mud over her head and run in circles around her yard, and Courtney would say, I want to do that! Show me how to do that!
Kate and Marylin are best friends. They have lived on the same street for their entire lives. They compromise. They agree on who's good to kiss, and who isn't. They agree about things like who is stuck up and who isn't. And then a new girl moves in, and trouble starts. Or maybe it started long before. Who knows. But soon Marylin and Kate are experiencing drifting... Marylin is "growing up" and Kate still hates romance. They want to get their "language" back- the way they can understand each other with no words. But sometimes that's hard. And sometimes, sometimes change is a good thing. Both girls gain new friends, new interests, new outlooks, and learn to be individual.
Kate was amazed that little kids never seemed to care about what they wore. Once she had seen Courtney walk down the hall at school dressed in ballet slippers, overalls, and a sweater wrapped around her head like a turban. Courtney appeared to have no idea that at that moment she looked like the weirdest person in the world.
I had some issues with this book.
First, while overall, I think it has good messages, it was filled with the popularity stuff that I try to avoid. you know, the "he's a geek so you should hate him" and "She's a cheerleader so she's going to be amazing." I hate that stuff. I think this book was very contrary, because it was pointing at the messages "you should look beyond outward appearances," and yet it was actually shoving the "appearances are everything" at you. I did not like that. Second, I think the book gave a very unfair view of cheerleaders. They are not all uppity snobs. I know some cheerleaders- they're my friends. First, cheerleaders DO get along with geeks/nerds. Second, cheerleaders are NOT always smiling. Third, just because someone's a cheerleader doesn't mean they can't play basketball!!! golly.
So, overall, it wasn't a terrible book, but I didn't really like it. I'd give it about two stars. The two redeeming people in it were Paisley, Kate's new friend, and Petey, Marylin's brother. I liked Petey and Paisley a lot. :D

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