I don’t usually mesh well with parody books. I love them onscreen, but not so much on the page. I enjoy books that turn tropes around, but not many full-on parodies. Beauty Queens is a parody. Though I appreciated it, it wasn’t the book for me.
On their way to the Teen Dream Pageant, the plane transporting the contestants crashes, stranding several beauty queens on an island in the middle of nowhere.
Despite being a book centered on beauty pageants, as well as a parody, the book is ultra feminist. Lots of grins and laughs and “yes!”(s) occurred while reading. It provides clever, pointed social commentary. Even if I didn’t enjoy it, I appreciated the commentary. Turning a story expected to not be feminist into a feminist story is a smart move.
Commentary aside, the book went too much into parody territory. It’s difficult to portray the ridiculous in words, and this book didn’t do it well enough for me to get it. The book uses euphemisms and metaphors, and I struggled to figure out what some of them referred to. I had an idea, but since this book relied on the euphemisms, I never knew what Bray was referring to. The writing style is what turned me off from the book.
A few months ago someone in Hollywood announced they were doing an all-female adaptation of Lord of the Flies. I groaned at the news. If a bunch of females were stranded on a deserted island a la Lord of the Flies, it would be a different story. I’m sure, however, Hollywood won’t be smart enough to get that. Though I didn’t love Beauty Queens, I am sure this is a better adaptation than whatever movie we’ll end up getting. (Also, as sometimes we like to theme things on this blog, stay tuned for a review later this week of Lord of the Flies.)
If you want a book with intelligent social commentary, this is a good book to choose. If you, like myself, struggle to comprehend written parody, this might not be the book for you. In the end, however, my slight dislike for this book isn’t related to the book itself, but rather to the style. The story was plenty good. I just didn’t like the style.