Whoa. I actually meant to write a post on Monday, and look what happened…
Spring Break was relaxing, quiet, and way too short. That’s how it always is, I guess. I finished reading two books over Break, but haven’t yet given them reviews on Goodreads; I’ll post when I do. What I wanted to here discuss was the differences between the two books I read.
Okay, generally speaking, comparing any literary work with “literature” means that someone will come up short every time. The two books I finished reading were “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte and “The Duff” by Kody Keplinger. My reading list this year focuses on books that inspired movies, with the obvious ones taken out (i.e. “Pride and Prejudice” and “Harry Potter”) except for fun (’cause, really, why wouldn’t I read those?). Whenever we watch a movie that states in the credits it was based off a book, I try to find the book. That’s how I read “Queen Bees & Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman (which inspired the movie “Mean Girls”), and ended up recommending the book to just about every parent I knew.
Unfortunately, I felt the movie version of “The Duff” was better than the book (sorry, Ms. Keplinger). This conclusion is, I believe, mainly a result of the differences between different ideologies and backgrounds. Yes, I am aware that there is teen partying; yes, I know that, nowadays, people who wait until marriage to lose their virginity are few. I understand. What I’m saying is, the thoughts behind the book, the culture that influenced it, and the motivations of the main character were not to my taste. And the movie was very different in its story arc and goals, to the point where I’m sure the biggest thing it had in common with its namesake book was the character names. Some characters stayed the same, but most were changed.
See, if I did grow up with the “hookup culture” as it’s called, I certainly wasn’t a part of it. For this reason, I had a hard time understanding why any young woman would make some of the choices that Bianca did in the book. I felt sorry for the character, because her home life was terrible and she refused to admit she was in over her head (which made it worse). But, instead of at least acknowledging that there was a problem, she was determined to engage in something to distract her so totally she wouldn’t have to think. Then, the morning after, she felt dirty and unsatisfied, but her problems were still there.
The book ends up resolving when (no surprise to me) Bianca realizes she’s “in love” with the guy she’s been sleeping with, and they decide to go public with their relationship.
Okay: I understand that this is a book about a teenager, and teenagers are not habitually known for either thinking through or making wise and mature decisions. I understand that Bianca’s homelife severely impaired her ability to cope with other things around her. But, I felt that the way she used the guy to–on purpose–temporarily satisfy herself was demeaning and degrading. And this is where I diverge from what a lot of people argue is just “expressing sexuality.” I also had little sympathy for Bianca when she was angry with herself the morning after, and had no one else to blame.
I was angry with her because she was looking–again, on purpose–to STOP THINKING. Her reasoning was that there were too many things on her mind, too many worries, too many cares. She wanted them to all go away, to get lost in a very sensual exprerience.
I find this terrifying. Why should any self-respecting young woman choose to STOP THINKING? In giving up her intellect, even for a short while, she felt she had made awful mistakes while “living in the moment.” *Really? You don’t say…* And then, she had to deal with the consequences she had not foreseen while her brain was turned off.
Sadly, it really was just luck of the draw that I finished Jane Eyre around the same time. One of the biggest climaxes in the book *SPOILER ALERT* is where Jane leaves Mr. Rochester because she fears succumbing to her feelings. Her head logically says, ‘this is wrong, don’t do this,’ and she removes herself from the situation before she does something she’ll regret. Instead of Jane deciding that Mr. Rochester’s situation is extraneous and certain allowances can be made, just to reconcile everything so she can be swept up in feeling, Jane decides that giving up her intellect at this time would be pure folly, and could possibly destroy her forever.
Sigh. I’m letting it go. Truly, I am.