The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Y.A)
Every so often you get your hands on a book that makes you want to cause some serious trouble. I mean, I now want to organize a group who works in mysterious ways to arrange Dada-esque protests in an attempt to change the social order. I want to have a secret order at my beck and call, and I don’t want any of its members to realize that they are acting under my orders. I want to be Frankie.
Not really, though, because Frankie never gets any respect. Everyone, including her adorable new boyfriend, severely underestimates her. She just recently bloomed, so people are falling all over her as if she’s new, but she remembers how she seemed invisible before. She’s tired of only being noticed when she needs to be rescued. She’s mad that her boyfriend isn’t as interested in her life as she is in his. She’s mad that she’s seen as Matt’s girlfriend and not as a person in her own right and she’s mad that the guys at her boarding school have no idea of their male privilege. However, Frankie has a plan. She’s learned about the panopticon and she is ready to take it on with some tips from the Suicide Club.
What I really loved about this book was Frankie and her single-minded need to have some power. It’s hard to be honest about it, but everyone does want some power, some control and it’s rarer to see female characters portrayed as openly desiring it. Frankie just wants what she wants and she is willing to go after it. As well, the girl has a wicked mind. The pranks she has the Order play are pointed and symbolic and they actually do affect some change into her world, even if the people she is trying to impress don’t realize it. The subtext of the novel indicates that the people who will understand her message best are not those in power, but those who never see power as an option, All in all, I love this lady and her willingness to destroy the cultural hegemony just so people will stop underestimating her.
I have to agree with the narrator who says, “ And so, another possibility – the possibility I hold out for – is that Frankie Landau-Banks will open the doors she is trying to get through. And she will grow up to change the world.”