You know that moment when a book just disappoints you? There’s all this hype, everyone tells you that its a great book, and then it just falls flat? I remember when I was growing up hearing that The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books were the best ever (and maybe they were for a bunch of tween/teen girls?) This last week I finished up the first book in the series. Now I won’t say that it totally disappointed me, but it also wasn’t a book that I would reread time and time again.
For those that aren’t aware the book, as well as the following books, is about a pair of magical pants. Why are these pants magical you may ask? Because they fit four girls with totally different body types. The discovery of the pants takes place only a few days before the girls begin their first summer away from each other. They see the pants as a way to stay connected, and the traveling pants are born. We follow each girl’s adventures by following the pants on their travels from one girl to the next.
Overall I enjoyed the way the book was written it was an easy read and very relaxed. It definitely had that sappy romance feel to it, as each girl pursues and or finds a guy for the summer, but as we discussed in book club, what teen girl isn’t obsessed with guys? There were some pretty realistic elements. Brashares does do a good job of portraying a few of the things that girls face in their teens. She demonstrates what it is like to come from a split family, what it means to be the oldest, and even the trials of a young girls ‘first time.’ I think all these things brought a relatable aspect to the book. I found myself relating to Tibby as she is stuck at home caring for her siblings and working all summer. It brought back several memories of spending my summers babysitting for my parents or putting in hours as a cashier at Runza while my friends had adventure after adventure.
One thing I didn’t notice until it was pointed out at book club is that the girls are almost too diverse. It seems that if it hadn’t been for early circumstance they never would have become friends. In fact, we see very few aspects of their friendship. A few of the moments stand out, but other than that I struggle to see how close the girls really are. That could also be because the girls are separated for the whole summer too.
The more I write about the book, the more I’m not so sure that it is as a big of a disappointment as I originally thought. I think I let myself get too caught up on the things I didn’t enjoy and didn’t look for the good parts. It’s interesting what reflecting on a novel makes you think of. All you can do I guess is check it out for yourself, and see if I’m talking nonsense or not.