Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Queen of Babble

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

The Plot: Lizzie (I know! She has my name!) has just graduated college and is off to spend an exciting summer with her boyfriend, Andrew. Except, well, sometimes, Lizzie sees things the way she wants to. For example, she hasn't graduated because there's one more major paper she needs to finish. And "boyfriend" seems to be a strong word for a guy she met the day before he returned to England. When reality intrudes on fantasy and Lizzie can no longer ignore that Andrew is just an Andy, she takes off to meet some friends in France. Upset, she babbles away to a stranger on a train, sharing all her troubles. Except the stranger? He's the guy her friends are staying with.

The Good: It's a perfect college/ twenty-something book, and I am insanely jealous. Not that Meg Cabot wrote this and I did not (tho, yeah, that too) but that publishers are finally recognizing this demographic and publishing things just for this age group. I would have loved books like this in my 20s; and obviously, while I still read and enjoy them (and the books that involve romance for people closer to my age), it's always nice to have a book that is about your stage of life. Here, the post-college questioning years, that will also be enjoyed by those still in school.

Lizzie is fun and funny; Cabot, as always, creates likable characters, funny situations, and also a sound plot.

Andy is such an idiot; I do want to shake Lizzie, to hit over the head and say "wake up." Which of course, her friends are trying to do. But Cabot also captures that Andrew is what Lizzie wants him to be; what Lizzie needs him to be. And, thankfully, Lizzie does realize that Andrew never existed except in her head; he fit the suit she had made up. She mistakes lust and want and dreams for love and life. Luckily, she wakes up in time and leaves Andy/Andrew far behind.

Lizzie loves fashion; it was her major; and she puts together a great wardrobe despite little money. Her thesis on the history of fashion is what she left unwritten, and their are bits of it scattered throughout the book. I adored them, both the history and Lizzie's take on them: "[The toga] went on to become a favorite costume of college fraternity parties, for reasons this author cannot fathom, as the toga is neither flattering nor comfortable, especially when worn with control top underwear." I want to read Lizzie's entire thesis.

I like that Lizzie, despite what seems like lack of direction, has talent and a career ahead of her; and that not all of her questions are answered.

Note to parents and librarians and others: yes, there is sex in this book. It's a book written for adults. Published for adults. Hence, in more ways than one, the content is, what is that word I am looking for?

Oh, yeah. Adult.

One of my pet peeves is the "Meg wrote the Princess Diaries so since my ten year old loved the movie she should read all of Meg's books" attitude.* Um, no. Meg's adult books are for the adult section of the library; please, remember that. Meg clearly markets these books to adults. And if you chose to ignore it, you have no right to complain about the sex in Queen Of Babble. (You also have no right to complain about the Princess Diaries not being right for your ten year old after I told you it was in the teen section and different from the movie and you should read it first.)

* I see this related to the "eleven year olds want to read young adult books so all ya books should be suitable for them and judged accordingly" theory.


Little Willow said...

You wrote:
(You also have no right to complain about the Princess Diaries not being right for your ten year old after I told you it was in the teen section and different from the movie and you should read it first.)

YES, exactly! Do you have ANY idea how often I've told people that? Yes, yes, you do. :)

That article's headline cracks me up, and not in a good way. She didn't go from YA author to adult author. She had adult romance published FIRST, people! Also, none of her books are in the Young Readers - juvie lit section. None. I have to explain this all of the time.

Liz B said...

For whatever reasons, Cabot also used different names. Which I'm sure you know. Personally, I also think her adult stuff has gotten less racy, possibly because of concern that despite everything teen fans will read it.

But what's scary... is when I've had to explain to fellow librarians why Cabot's adult stuff doesn't belong in the YA section.