Book Review: Beauty Queens

Synopsis According to Goodreads:
"The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Oh, Libba Bray. I want to marry your brain. 

Once again, she's pulled out a great novel that marries a fun story and characters with biting social commentary. Like with Going Bovine, Bray managed to force me to set the book down and think about life,  the expectations of the world on myself and women in general, the sad state of a corporate culture, and the issues facing women as they search for empowerment and identity. 

That sounds heavy (and those ARE heavy issues), but actually the book was hilarious, snarky, and very fun. She manages a rainbow of characters with issues that most folk can relate to in some way, and she creates a very empowering story out of it. 

I truly wish that I had been able to read Beauty Queens in high school. And then in college. And then after college. And maybe in my mid-twenties. Some of her turns of phrase and simple observations on the state of our American culture and what it means to be a woman are things it took me years of observation, experimentation, and a lot of tears and mistakes to learn. That she so gracefully sums them up in an absolutely accurate sentence or two is awe-inspiring.

And while I think women, and feminists of any gender, will get the most out of this book, it's a fun read for men as well. I recommend it for anyone who is literate and alive, especially if you live in the US. I am considering buying copies of this book and sending them to my friends with young daughters. My copy I'm keeping to re-read, and for my future progeny. 

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