Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by: E. Lockhart

   Remember these books that I love so much? I found them from this post over at Leila's blog. It had been a while since I had looked at that list and thought it was high time I picked another. Lo and behold The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks came into my hands. I'd heard many good things about it so was quite excited to get started.
   To me, this was a perfect example of a good book at the wrong time. I don't think I was in the right mood to really appreciate it.
     While I wasn't overwhelming awwed by it, I still enjoyed it. I loved Frankie's voice.
    She had never wanted anything so badly as she wanted Matthew to be her boyfriend. But he'd just made this statement--that was nearly impossible to answer with any dignity. What would she say that was most likely to et her where she wanted to be? Her synapses went into a series of calculations and evalutations that can be listed as follows:
    Could say: "Here I am."
    Veto. Sounds coy.    Could say: "Of course I came."
    Veto. Sounds like I idolize him.
    Could say: "Why wouldn't I?"
    Veto. He'll feel awkward answering that question.
    Could change the subject.
    Veto. People like to be listen to.
    Could say: "I've never been to a party on the golf course."
    Veto. Too juvenile.
    Could say instead : "I'm always up for a party."
    Veto. Too irksome. Plus, sounds like I went to lots of parties last year, which he'll soon find out I didn't.
    I need to make him laugh. And I need to unsettle him enough so that's he's not entirely certain I like him


The politics of the group intrigued me. When Frankie sees Alpha and realizes its the same boy from the beach who asked for her icecream cone, I got a bit giddy on seeing how it all would play out. The whole Alpha and she-wolf thing had me laughing.

    Matthew nodded. "Me and Alpha. We matched everyone up, and Alpha got the she-wolf to paste the invitations."
    "The she-wolf?"
    "Alpha's girlfriend."
    Alpha had a girlfriend. Since when did Alpha have a girlfriend? Hadn't he just been flirting with Frankie three weeks ago? "I didn't know he had one," she said as coolly as she could.
    "Oh, he's always got one. And she's always the she-wolf," said Matthew. "The girl may change in fact, the girl will always change. But the name remains the same."
    Hm. Frankie wondered if she had underestimated Alpha. When she'd met him at the rock wall, she had thought he either didn't remember her or was backing off because Matthew had claimed her. But now it seemed Alpha had already hooked up with the she-wolf and if he always had someone, he was at least as popular with girls as Matthew. "Isn't he supposed to be an alpha dog?" Frankie asked. "Not a wolf?"
    "Of course. But we're gentlemen. We'd never call a girl a---"
    "I see. And Alpha got this she[wolf to make invitations?"
    "They just started going out. She's still trying to impress him." Matthew laughed. "She hasn't realized yet that it's impossible."
    Frankie absorbed the information. Who was the she-wolf? How had she managed to be already so in with this pack of boys that they'd had her make the invitations to their secret party?
    And why was it impossible to impress Alpha?
 
 And while I grew to love Frankie, and her feminist sister, I was puzzled at why such an independent woman like Frankie would stay with a guy like Matthew. A guy who only loved Frankie when she wasn't speaking her mind or when she was down needing his help. Wouldn't Frankie, this girl with spunk, awesome personality and strong character want someone more like Alpha? who likes her the way she is? Likes her no matter what? even when she speaks her mind?
For instance when she uses her neglected positive. words like gruntled from disgruntled ore maculate from immaculate or turbed from perturbed.

    He got up from his desk, walked over to the couch on which she sat, and kissed her on the lips. There was no one else around.
    "Mmmm," she whispered. "Now I'm gruntled."
    "What?"
    "Gruntled. I was disgruntled before."
    "Why?"
    "It's drizzling, there's nothing to do but study, the vending machine's broken. You know, disgruntled."
    "And now, you're. . . "
    "Gruntled."
    She had expected Matthew's face to light at the new word, but he touched her chin lightly and said, "I don't think that word means what you think it means."
    "What?" Frankie didn't think it was a word. She though it was--she thought it was what she'd later call a "neglected positive." 
He then informs Frankie that she is making a false neglected positive as opposed to an imaginary neglected positive. He then goes over and begins to look up words in the dictionary to prove to her that he was right.

   What annoyed her now was not that Matthew was right--but that he wouldn't just enjoy the made-up word. That he needed to be right. And that he'd chucked her--actually chucked her under the chin, like you do to a dog, when informing her that, essentially, her cleverness with gruntled had been completely trumped by his stellar memory for obscure bits of the dictionary.
   "It was a joke," she told him.
    "I know," he said. "But it's only funny if you're really making up a word, and in this case you're not."
    "You don't have to make me feel like such a nimrod."
    "Way to take the fun out of it."
    "Don't be so sensitive, Frankie"
    "I'm not."
    "You're pouting over a word in the dictionary."
    "Fine." Frankie went back to her book, but she didn't read. If she was too sensitive, she thought, she was never going to last with this boy, this marvelous boy who made her feel dizzy when he kissed her.

I loved how alpha got it right off and simply laughed when Frankie used her neglected positive with him.
"Nocuous? Like the positive of innocuous? that's funny."

Matthew also had this weird Jekyll and Hyde thing going on. One minute he'd be a chauvanistic punk on the phone with Frankie, and then the minute Alpha walks into the room he's suddenly this cool headed free loving chill dude, who doesn't mind anything. it was weird.
    Frankie flipped the phone closed. "He's letting me go," she told Trish.
    "Letting you? Since when does he let you?" Trish sat up in bed.
    "No, it wasn't like that. It's not that he's letting me. He just didn't want me to."
    "So he was jealous."
    "Maybe. But he doesn't want me to be mad about it. And he ended up saying I  could do whatever I wanted."
    "How did you go from you telling him not to push you around to him letting you go?" asked Trish. "That's a big leap."
    "Yeah." Frankie flipped her pillow over and switched out the light. "I'm not sure how that happened."

6 comments:

Kirthi said...

Haha, I had forgotten how unique this book was ^_^ I hadn't really enjoyed the story line, but I loved the writing.

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

I've had this book on my Book Depository wishlist for a few years but I'd heard such mixed things about it I couldn't decide whether to get it. I think the things you mention, and the quotes (love the quotes!) have helped me decide not to bother. Not sure that I'd enjoy this one.

KIKA said...

Kirthi: nicely put :) I did love the writing---not too crazy about the story line

Shannon: Shannon! HI! :) soo good to see you here, how are you? LOL glad it helped you make decision :)

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

Sorry I haven't commented in a while! Baby took over my life for a while there - until I learnt to type one-handed! ;)

KIKA said...

oh my goodness, no worries :D and BABY?!!! when?! AHHH CONGRATS! SOOO HAPPY FOR YOU! :DDDD

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

Thanks! I posted about it here if you want to see :) He's three months old now! And so big!