The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of those books that I heard about all over the blogosphere and finally grabbed my own copy at Borders Bookstore from one of their bargain shelves. I’m kind of funny when it comes to reading reviews–I don’t read a lot of summaries and I have a terrible memory, so I often go into books not knowing very much about them except that others really liked them. The case was the same for this one–and what a delightful surprise!
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks besides having a terribly long title is the story of Frankie Landau-Banks during her sophomore year of high school when she decides to take down the school’s secret society. After living in her older sister’s footsteps during her freshman year, Frankie finally makes a breakout during her sophomore year and becomes involved with some of the cooler and older kids at school. One of the seniors, Matthew, begins courting her and thus begins a whirlwind romance as well as her secret involvement in the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, the secret male-only society. Upset about the continual lies, deceit, and hypocrisy, Frankie decides to take down the Loyal Order one prank at a time.
Mostly this book was just a lot of fun. Although Frankie is not the narrator, the narration focuses around her thoughts and actions, so we get to know her really well throughout the book. Frankie is a little insecure and eager to be accepted among her peers. Her mother still thinks Frankie is her little “Bunny Rabbit” and is constantly undermining her abilities and intelligence. Even in her involvement with Matthew, Frankie shows how important it is for her to make a name for herself and to be taken seriously.
The meat of the book comes from Frankie’s growth and development throughout the book and her desire to become her own person. Frankie shows that she is every bit as clever and quick-witted as her male counterparts, but she must do most of this through a covert cover and the leader of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, Alpha, quickly takes credit for Frankie’s work–even as the pranks become more and more serious. My favorite bit about Frankie, though, is her playfulness with the English language:
“[Matthew] got up from the desk, walked over to the couch on which she sat, and kissed her on the lips. There was nothing else around.
‘Mmmm,’ she whispered. ‘Now I’m gruntled.’
‘Gruntled. I was disgruntled before.’
‘It’s drizzling, there’s nothing to do but study, the vending machine’s broken. You know, disgruntled.’
‘And now you’re…’
Frankie is such a likeable character, and while some might be annoyed by her antics, I think Lockhart portrays Frankie as many teenaged girls are–someone who is just looking to become a part. My only regret about the book is the ending when although Frankie has learned a lot and accomplished a lot, she’s still the teenaged girl who second guesses herself. This book has received some mixed-reviews, but generally I would recommend it. I certainly really enjoyed it!
On a side note: I’m taking a bit of a blogging break. I’m tired of whining about blogging, so I’m making this announcement kind of quietly. And who knows–maybe in a few days I’ll change my mind. Ideally I’d still like to get my pending reviews written and posted, but I fear that otherwise I might be a bit sparse around the blogosphere. I’ve felt that blogging lately has become a lot of pressure and I’m trying to alleviate some of that pressure (mostly self-induced) and until I can figure that out…I’m in a state of avoidance. :)