The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the second book I’ve read from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  It’s a moving and emotionally complicated book which focuses on four friends who are coming of age.

The friends are spending their summer apart, but staying connected through a pair of magical pants.  The pants rotate between the girls, helping them to do whatever needs to be done in that moment.  Some of the girls gain courage, some gain maturity, some take risks.  The point is that the pants help the girls remember their friends’ support and infuse them with extra confidence to do what is necessary in their particular circumstances.

The girls experience everything from work issues to death, complicated family relationships to boy issues.  I like how the situations are not cheapened by coming up with nicely packaged and processed resolutions.  The reader is allowed to sit in some uncertainty about how things will ultimately turn out for the girls (Of course, this could simply be a plot device that sets us up for the next book.)

The narrative skips around to the different girls throughout each chapter, so that can get a little confusing.  There are no headers to alert you to the changes.  The characters were mostly likable, but not complex enough to make me truly attached to them.  It could just be that they were adolescents and their behavior/thought life were a bit erratic.  Goodness knows that would be true to reality.

The one thing that I really loved about this novel was that the story encompassed a lot of different issues and emotions associated with a young girl coming of age.  It’s a complex time of life for young ladies and I feel like this novel would help them to feel a little bit normal.  I don’t know about you, but my middle and high school years were not a piece of cake.  I think I would have benefited from hearing the message that these emotions are normal and it’s okay not to have all your spit together.  We’ll swap excrement for oral secretions, okay?  You might also like to know that I cried towards the end.

A favorite quote from the book:

“Maybe happiness was just a matter of the little upticks–the traffic signal that said ‘Walk’ the second you got there–and downticks–the itchy tag at the back of your collar–that happened to every person in the course of a day.  Maybe everybody had the same allotted measure of happiness within each day.

Maybe it didn’t matter if you were a world-famous heartthrob or a painful geek.  Maybe it didn’t matter if your friend was possibly dying.

Maybe you just got through it.  Maybe that was all you could ask for.” (p.282)

With all that being said, I would recommend this book to teen and preteen girls.  I think they’ll enjoy and identify with it most.

Possible Objections:

  • A bit of bad language
  • One sexual encounter, though it’s extremely vague (I had to read between the lines to understand that it had even occurred)

 Rating: 4 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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