Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

When I mentioned that I 'd just read a copy of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsby Ann Brashares, a book I'd often heard mentioned, my teenaged daughter kind of grimaced, while my younger daughter said that she wants to read it after she finishes all four books in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Have I lost my "edge", or have I just realized, with the passing of days, that it's okay to enjoy books that are actually fun to read? Not every book has to be great literature. Anyway, this book does live up to it's reputation as a bestseller--it's both cute and clever. I enjoyed reading about the great friendship among these four friends, Bree, Carmen, Lena, and Tibby, as well as the pants that they share over their summer apart, pants that help them stay together, in a personal sense and as a group. All the teen turmoil and angst is a lot easier (and more humorous) to read about than to experience--perhaps you need to have safely navigated through those waters before you can appreciate and enjoy this book. Maybe I would have snickered at this book had it been out during my teen years--who knows? I was pretty sarcastic back then. But at this point in my life, I enjoyed just about every page of it, including the quotes, many of them humorous, which begin each chapter (call me corny but I enjoy a good quote). The quotes are superimposed on a drawing of the pants. Here's an example (without the pants):

"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes."
~Frieda Norris, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares

And from the text of the book, a few comforting words about happiness:

"Maybe happiness didn't have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it was about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures. Wearing slippers and watching the Miss Universe contest. Eating a brownie with vanilla ice cream. Getting to level seven in Dragon Master and knowing there were twenty levels to go.
Maybe happiness was just a matter of the little upticks--the traffic signal that said "Walk" the second you got there--and downticks--the itchy tag at the back of your collar--that happened to every person in the course of a day. Maybe everybody had the same allotted measure of happiness within each day."
~The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brashares

Reading this book brought me many upticks, moments of increased happiness.

This book is the first in a series of four, listed here:
  1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001)
  2. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (2003)
  3. Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (2005)
  4. Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood (2007)
The first book was made into a movie in 2005, and stars Alexis Bledel as Lena, Amber Tamblyn as Tibby, America Ferrera as Carmen, and Blake Lively as Bridget (Bree).
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, the sequel to the original movie, was released on August 6, 2008. The sequel mostly follows the fourth book, although it also includes material from previous books in the series. You can watch the movie trailers here, for either the first movie or for the sequel. I may not read the entire series, but I probably will watch a movie or two.


  1. I read this book, but can't whole-heartedly recommend it. It didn't pass the standards for my 'Modern Prude's Guide to Good Reading' seal of approval. I'm not crazy about youth, my daughter included, being exposed to premarital sex. And I don't think this books addressed the consequences very well. It went a bit light on that. I'd advice my 12-year-old daughter to hold off on reading it, and I'd want to discuss it with her along the way.

  2. The movie and the book are rated PG-13. Parental guidance is a great idea!

    (Luckily it will take my daughter a loooong time to finish the Twilight series.)


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