October 07, 2011

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

I had seen previews for the movie adaptation of this book and it made me mildly curious. When I found the book on clearance I stopped having excuses on why I hadn't read it yet. I enjoyed the book for the most part, there were a few slow moving areas and a couple things that just made me go "huh?" but otherwise it was definitely a relatable book.

Carmen, Bridget (Bee), Tibby, and Lena have been best friends forever. This summer marks the first one that they will be spending time away from each other. Carmen will be visiting her dad, a trip which she is excited to spend one on one time with him. Bridget is going to soccer camp in Mexico. Tibby will have to stay home and work at the local store, something she is entirely not looking forward to. Lastly, Lena will be headed to Greece with her younger sister to stay with their grandparents for the summer. To hold them together, they agree to all ship a special pair of pants to each other throughout the summer, and do great things while wearing them. These pants are so special because, not only are they a thrift store find, they also fit each of the girls perfectly, despite them all being different sizes and body shapes.

Lena gets to start and with her, the traveling pants experience a boy wanting to get close to her but then causing problems between her grandparents and their friends. She wants to fix the issues but isn't quite sure how to go about it. Next they travel to Tibby who has befriended a younger girl with Leukemia. The girl drives her nuts but as the summer goes along, she grows closer to this new found friend. Carmen has the next turn and the pants find her lonely and confused at her dad's, where after her plane landed, she discovers that he has a new family; a fiance with two kids just as blond as he is and with whom she doesn't fit in (Carmen is part Puerto Rican). As she grows angrier at being invisible in this beautiful family her temper starts to unleash. Last of all the pants go to Bridget, who has developed a crush on a camp counselor and who has also been just a bit too daring after the death of her mother. After traveling with each of the girls in that order, they also go backwards in the chain and give each girl a chance to rectify her mistakes.

The characters were likeable in this book. A girl could identify with any of them at some point and time and the struggles they were experiencing. Tibby was my least favorite. I just didn't connect with her as well as she seemed very immature to me. I probably felt the deepest connect with Carmen and her struggles with her family. What I couldn't understand though was why the author kept having her feel guilty about what she was doing, perhaps it was a little temperamental but in my opinion she had good reason. Her father and his "new family" were horrible from my view. That man should have been very ashamed of himself instead of clueless.

The writing of course is geared towards young adults and children so it is very easy to read. There aren't a lot of big words or ideas although there are some tough ones. This book touches on losing virginity, death, and other mature themes and my not be appropriate for very young children. Each chapter starts out with a quote or proverb and while you'd think that each chapter would be centered on girl as they are short chapters; they are not. They skip around from girl to girl and its actually kind of off putting and hard to follow. I think she would have done much better by breaking the girls stories up instead of formatting it the way she did. It caused me to enjoy the book a little less. The story is told in third person for all except the prologue and epilogue, which are narrated by Carmen.

It is a good story about growing up and I see it as perfect for younger girls. If I ever chance by the sequel I'll definitely read it.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Copyright 2001
294 pages

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