Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Fourth Summer of the Traveling Pants is coming out this week

I was pretty surprised to see that the last time I was in Borders. I read the first three books last summer, and the last one felt like the end of the series. I really enjoyed the first three books. Ann Brashares succeeded at making her characters "real people" instead of caricutures, the way teenage girls often are in novels. It's easy to fill a book up with archetypes. Many authors have made entire careers off of it. Personally, I found something to relate to in each character, and I was pleased that she didn't give a "Hollywood ending" to each girl's story. It's an important message, absent from a lot of pop culture: your life, no matter how careful you are, is going to include some bad shit, but you can handle it. Each character does, in her own way.

She also didn't go too far the other way. When Bridget had sex before she was ready to, many people (especially the authors of the "problem novels" that I grew up with) would have had Bridget get pregnant or get syphilis or something. They always talk about the emotional consequences of doing it before you're ready in sex ed, but this is the first time I'd seen them actually explored in a novel or even in a movie. Carmen also could've easily spun out of control in dealing with both her father's and mother's remarriage, but rather than make her some kind of melodramatic 16-year-old alcoholic or drug abuser, she just worked it out.

At any rate, I'm interested to see where she's taking the series next!


Melissa said...

The Traveling Pants series portrays friendships between women the way it should be. That is the one thing I really enjoy about the series. Women aren't catty, bitchy, back stabbing male predators, we are more than shopping and gossiping buddies. Those four girls respect, love, and support each other. The latter books in the series tend to be a bit shallow but the author never wavers in her portrayl of how powerful friendship is. I love the scene in the 2nd book where Bridget who is still emotionally lost attempts to confide in Tibby. And Tibby resists her desire to hug and comfort Bridget, knowing that's not what Bridget needs. She only listens, not attempt to provide solutions. That's how it is in life, often we just want someone to listen, not judge and not tell us what to do.

Good series, excited about the 4rth book! Another Good series is Eragon, very exciting and action packed. Not as cleverly written as the Harry Potter series, the world Eragon occupies is full of magic but doesn't hold the same charm but still an exciting story. The bond between him and his dragon rocks!

Which character in the Pants series are you most like?

Library Diva said...

You definitely put your finger on why these books are so popular! I don't know which of the girls I'm most like. I wish I was like Bridget or Tibby, but I'm afraid I'm probably the most like Lena. How about you?