The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
fiction, young adult
Reviewed by: Carrie Byrd
Review posted: 8/06/04
While this may not convince people that not all pants are evil, perhaps, in some small way, it will redeem a few pairs. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the story of four friends who must spend the summer apart for the first time. The pants are sent back and forth between the four, chronicling their adventures.
I went into this book with some serious doubts. I mean…a book? About…pants? And the cover flap doesn’t do the book a lot of justice either. It sounds like your typical teenage angst book, with cute boys, ditsy girls and the same rehashed plots of the last nine million Baby-Sitters club books. Not that I don’t like the Baby-Sitters club. I still have a bunch shoved in a box somewhere, smelling like mold and my own carefree summers. But after a while, there comes a time where young adult literature has to separate the Baby-Sitter’s clubs from the Judy Blumes. The Traveling Pants are firmly ensconced on the Judy Blume side of things.
Brashares is clearly a friend to teenage girls. She writes them easily (without excessive slang or ridiculous attitudes. Like, not all teens are like, totally lame, like, okay?) and it is a pleasure to get to know her characters. They are flawed, but their flaws make them interesting. They are the girls you knew in high school. The friends you made in college. The ones who know everything about you. You like them. You envy them, you want to be them, and yet, you are (or in my case, were) them.
There were a couple things that bugged me. The story is book ended with a prologue and epilogue from Carmen, one of the main characters. I felt it was unnecessary. It didn’t ruin the story for me, but the story would have been just as effective (if not more so) without it. In addition, some of the little plots hard endings that were a bit too easy, in that all is forgiven, say five Hail Mary’s and go in peace kind of way. It’s just a bit too neat.
Brashares has created a thoroughly enjoyable little universe. You sniffle a little over the character’s heartbreaks. You rejoice in their triumphs. You get angry on their behalf. And when the last page closes, you realize you’re going to miss them.