Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Taming of the Tights by Louise Rennison

Gadzooks! It's another term at Dother Hall for Tallulah and her mates. But can they keep their minds on the arts with all those boys about...After the thing-that-will-never-be-mentioned last term, Tallulah is keen to put all thoughts of Cain behind her. But that seems like that the last thing he wants. Their performing arts college may have been saved by Honey's mystery benefactor, but for how long is anyone's guess. So will Tallulah finally get to wear those golden slippers of applause or will Dr Lightowler swoop down on her glory days? And with Seth and Flossie forever snogging, Vaisey and Jack loved-up and Phil and Jo fondly biffing each other can Tallulah resist the call of her wild boy? Don your craziest tights and Irish dance your way to some surprising and hilariously unexpected answers...
I have been reading Louise Rennison’s books since I was 14. I remember picking up the first book in the confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, hoping it would be a sort of YA version of Bridget Jones, and it was exactly what I wanted. The plot is rather typical (aka: no surprises) in all of her books. But what makes each of these books worth not just reading, but owning, is the humor. These are books I’m slightly embarrassed to read out in public because they always make me laugh out loud.
In fact, I was just finishing this book in a Dunkin Donuts (grabbing the necessary caffeine before a meeting), debating if I should take it out and read because I knew I’d embarrass myself. I of course took it out. And I of course started cracking up. The popular Dunkin Donuts, mostly populated by the retired community of Cape Cod probably all thought I was drunk…in the middle of the day.
Any way, the book takes place after a holiday, with the tree sisters returning to their arts academy and to a semester of The Taming of the Shrew themed assignments. Somehow this theme has lead to owl raps, acting as horses, and all sorts of other mayhem. I absolutely love every scene that takes place in the decaying school. There’s drum workshops without any drums. There’s a school janitor who invites the girls to terrible concerts of a band he’s in. There’s parties in the woods. There’s school pranks, lots of flirting with the boy’s academy next door, and so much humor!
I can literally read any of Rennison’s books in under 2 hours. You cannot put them down. I think it’s fantastic that this author can appeal to me just as much now, as an adult, as they did for me 13 years ago as a child. Her sense of humor is timeless. Her characters go above and beyond in their believability. All of the girls are at least slightly superficial. All of them think about boys in a believable way. And Rennison nails the whole teen girl/self conscious thing in the bag. The characters actually act like teenagers more than they do as adults –something a little bit rare in YA lately.
I also believe in her boy characters. They are just as funny. And while not all of them are as redeemable to me as others, I like that Rennison’s girls seem able to learn from them. I love that Georgia plays the role of mentor to Tallulah, but never take center stage in this series. I also love that Rennison seems to be a believer in dating! Not all girls have to find their one true soul mate right away. Sometimes a girl has to kiss a few frogs first.
I kind of wish some of Rennison’s characters had better relationships with their parents. I get that kids have to be away from the parental figures for things to happen story-wise. But, can someone have good (non-crazy) parents? I do love Tallulah’s aunt and uncle, but they are pretty crazy with their scavenging.
This series is actually getting better as it goes. Tallulah is becoming more and more confident, loveable, and compassionate. I will continue to read these books, buy these books, and recommend them. It gets a 10/10 from me.

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