First of all, a disclaimer: I am more than 3 times the age of the target audience for Ann Brashares' "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2001). I haven't seen either of the two movies based on the book either. Looking back on when the first movie was released, I know I spent what little movie time I had that year taking my kids to see JK Rowlings' "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and the remake of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is a loving portrait of teenage American girls, forever friends, right as everything changes for them. It's their first summer apart. There's Bridget, the reckless athlete who goes to soccer camp in Mexico; Carmen, whose divorced father suddenly acquires a brand new family: Lena, who visits her grandparents in Greece; and Tibby at home, working her first job at 'Walmans', donning a double layered polyester smock and an nose-ring-wearing attitude. I was a little disappointed in the stereotyped four best friends: did Carmen really have to be a 'hot blooded' Latina? And is every athlete driven to win at any cost?
Brashares inadvertently sketched an entirely different time, the last summer before the United States lost its ersatz innocence. Teenagers could travel at will, without ID, without parents' permission, and without the careful planning national security requires now. Cell phones existed, but that's all they were: actual phones. Local calls were expensive, and making a long distance call? Landline was really the only option, and there was no guarantee that the person on the other end would even have a phone.
Before 2001, it was possible to actually be an alone, unwatched kid with some real autonomy. The 20th Century wasn't a more innocent time by any means - but it was a more private time for teens and adults alike. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" has some sex, although its implied and not explicit. It is described in pretty clichéd terms, though, and I found myself cringing at the mental imagery words like 'hungry' created for me. All of the sudden, I was thinking of pot roast.
The book was a good listen, and the vocabulary wasn't overly pretentious. It is worth 9 Accelerated Reader (AR) points. Here's a helpful parenting 'hack' (rapidly becoming its own trite term): if you've got a kid with reading issues, have them listen to the Audible and follow along with the written text.
I do think I will enjoy the movie, so I'll watch out for it. America Ferrera plays Carmen, and she's always good. The Audible narration was okay, but I did occasionally have trouble realizing when a new character was talking.
[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]
Reasonably entertaining, though sometimes a bit too childish, but able to open to the reader a number of issues of teen-aged angst in a variety of circumstances.
each girl had a very different experience over there summer.
It was too much like a fairytale. Nothing in life really ever is.
The premise is good but I am not really enjoying the book. Not sure why, maybe some of the details are boring and they make feel like I am wading through minutia and not really getting much substance. I don't think I will finish it.
Used to read classic lit for pleasure of well-written prose. Now, with MS, it's thrillers, courtroom/police dramas, and adventure to escape!
I read all four "traveling pants" books and enjoyed them all. I am a 50 year old female. I doubt that men would enjoy these stories, but even at my age, the author did a brilliant job of reminding the older female reader of what it was like to be a teenager. She captured the joys and sorrows of these years, the excitement of first love, the tough decisions, the issues every teenager has with parents... all-in-all a wonderful journey of a girl's coming of age. She also brought something special to the character development of each girl, and gave them all qualities that would resonate with any woman, young or old. Great narration, and excellent writing, I would highly recommend all four of these books.