You know you love it.

April 4, 2008 at 5:01 pm 1 comment

As I adjusted the buttons on my purple Land’s End oxford to line up with the belt looped through my Eddie Bauer khakis, I went through the mental checklist to start my day. Should I borrow a different tote from C instead of lugging the Whole Foods bag for just a notebook and pen? The courthouse didn’t allow cell phones, so I knew I’d have to leave my Sanyo SC-3100 and my iPod Nano (not next generation, sadly) behind, but what if I ended up with free swag at the conference? I adjusted my Brooks Brothers glasses and went off to the kitchen in search of my reversible Adidas knit hat.


But on the real: I love Gossip Girl. Can’t put the damn things down. I’ll admit to completely ignoring physical character descriptions–in my head Nate is played by an actor whose name I’ve yet to remember, and Serena is clearly Lyla from Friday Night Lights–but otherwise I skim nothing. When I can’t read I find myself anxiously wondering about the story developments. [SPOILER ALERT] Will S ever reconcile with B? Can D recover now that he knows S doesn’t love him? Are N and J actually going to hook up? [/SPOILER]

While clearly some of the characters (and GG, for that matter) are often lacking in empathy and sensitivity, I think the books as a whole allow readers to empathize with everyone. Sure, in some passages Blair comes off as completely bitchy and self-absorbed, but in others her vulnerability peeks out from beneath that confident exterior.

From a literary standpoint, I find the style of the books extremely compelling. We’re constantly contending with an unreliable narrator–Gossip Girl’s catty asides are in every chapter, even the ones not taken from her website–woven through narratives from each character’s perspective.

I have a really hard time dismissing Gossip Girl as just a guilty pleasure. At first I was a little embarrassed that I was so into the prequel–This is trashy chick lit! my inner snob screamed at me–but the more I read, the smarter the books feel, and the more insight they offer into teenage life. True, Blair’s life is a far cry from mine, and probably even farther from the lives of many of the kids I know in Boston. But her struggles, her feelings, are universal.

She just happens to have a platinum card to dull the pain.


Entry filed under: books. Tags: , , .

Encouraging social competencies Selling (Smarter) Sex

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Linda  |  April 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    If these books weren’t smart would they end up as article fodder for The New Yorker? 😉

    What I think is so brilliant about the novels is that on the outside they seem to be simply trashy teen chick lit. And, some teens and adults can read them as that. However, what they really inform readers about is human nature, social competencies, lifestyles, and the world in general.. As a result they make for very compelling reading. There’s more to it than girl gets drunk, girl has fight, girl sleeps with boy, ….


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