Reading for a Lifetime Together

A Psychological Take on a Teenager
November 13, 2009, 12:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

               When read about this book, I expected a coming-of-age story. You would think that after the first two books not following the expected plot I would learn my lesson. Frankie Landau-Banks blossomed the preceding summer of her sophomore year. She evolves from a gawky, frizzy-haired, wall-flower into a striking, curvy young woman in one summer. Upon her return in the fall, she receives copious amounts of attention from the popular senior guys. I assumed the two would begin dating, which they did, but I also anticipated liking Matthew, Frankie’s senior boy-disreputable-historyfriend. Through the relationship of Frankie and Matthew, the author depicts the typical relationship between teenagers. The girl becomes caught up in the guy so much that she begins to lose her friends. Sometimes, as in Matthew’s case, the one member of a couple only cares for the other in a limited way, in the way that best fits their predesigned box of expectations.

                Frankie tries to demonstrate the hidden half of her personality to Matthew by participating in his secret society. This appears impossible as the secret society, the Basset Hounds, caters exclusively to the male portion of the student body. Through ingenuity and symbolism, Frankie controls all of the pranks and turns them into meaningful acts by giving directions under an alias via email. While this originates to prove something to her boyfriend, Frankie’s scheme develops into a way to break out of the institution’s panapticon. The original panapticon consisted of cells in a prison that a warden could watch all of the prisoners simultaneously. From a psychological stand point, the prisoners would convince themselves to follow the rules because at any point someone might be watching. The same theory applies to modern institutions, such as schools. Because students know someone in authority might be watching they convince themselves to follow the rules. This assisted in developing the theory behind people behaving even when they know nobody can see them.

             “It is better to be alone, she figures, then to be with someone who can’t see who you are. It is better to lead then to follow…She will not be simple and sweet…The Bunny Rabbit is dead…She doesn’t feel like crying anymore.” 

                 This book, filled with symbolism and psychology, only presents one side of every issue. While I agree the relationship between Matthew and Frankie needed to end, I disagree with Frankie’s ending thoughts. By taking this view, Frankie attempts to eliminate the possibility of entering another rough bond with anybody, causing her to close herself of from the rest of the world. She does not try to make others understand or adjust the way she acts to better demonstrate her personality. She erects a stronghold hidden by her sweet teenage girl façade, effectively blocking out the rest of the world. The largest flaw with this decision never interferes until something life-changing occurs. Then the walls come crashing down exposing her true personality and leaving her vulnerable. The higher the walls erect the harder they fall when an outside force greatly affects the person. While this book presented many thought provoking ideas and creative takes on everyday issues, I personally disagree with the way the author and the character coped with these conflicts. This book definitely qualifies for males and females to read. Anyone can connect and learn from this inspiring novel.



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