Title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Author: Ann Brashares
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Time taken to read: 6 days
Goodreads synopsis: Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.
I of course read this book and probably at least one sequel when I was in middle school, but I decided to read it again because I’ve been pretty stressed lately and I needed something light and easy. Which is why I felt weird giving it a rating. I mean, it’s kind of a classic at this point, but I tried not to think of it that way.
The only semi-criticism I have for this book is that I don’t buy the idea that they would have stayed friends this entire time. Funnily enough, I can imagine most of them being friends whether or not they grew up together, but I feel like Bridget doesn’t quite fit. I think it’s very likely that she would have drifted apart from the other girls and immersed herself in the world of the jocks, since I would consider her to be the only extravert of the group. But the whole point of the book, I think, is to relate to all kinds of young girls, so it really doesn’t matter if I think it’s believable or not. So that’s not really a criticism, just a thought. Actually, my only criticism is the way Bridget’s mother’s suicide is glossed over. I would have liked for the author to actually use the word “suicide,” especially because I don’t know that a very young reader would understand that that’s what happened. I don’t remember if I got it or not, but even if it’s more obvious than I think, I thought it would be better to delve into that a little more. Oh, and speaking of vague things, did Bridget actually have sex with Eric, or did they just kiss? Someone please answer that for me because it’s driving me crazy.
My favorite character is definitely Carmen, because of the diversity that she brings to the book and the issues that she faces with her dad, which is probably the most relatable to young girls. I also like Tibby a lot. I thought it was interesting that, while her summer was supposed to be the most boring in the girls’ eyes, her voice was the most moving to me. The quote that really got me was, “She was alive, and they were dead. She had to try to make her life big. As big as she could. She promised Bailey she would keep playing.” I’m sure I’m not unique in really liking that line, but the “keep playing” part hit me pretty hard. In any case, if for some reason you have yet to read this book (because honestly, pretty much everyone has at this point), you should, because it really is a classic.
Oh, and a life update from me: I am now employed by Barnes & Noble (as a barista), which means that I get to borrow books from the store for free. How cool is that! At least, I will be able to do that, as soon as I figure out how. So someone should give me a recommendation for a brand new best-seller hardback for me to check out!