‘The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks’ by E. Lockhart [Book Review]

One of my auto-buy authors is E. Lockhart: We Were Liars saw to that. Having heard her speak for the second time at YALC last month, I decided it was time to read another book by Emily, especially after the moderator on her panel repeatedly plugged The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks as an incredible feminist book; so of course I devoured it for the 2017 Reading Challenge.

Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Released: 2008
Pages: 342
Category: #56 A book set in a school
Rating: 7/10

“It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can’t see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people.”

Set in a boarding school in America, this novel follows Frankie, a strong, passionate young woman, intent on ensuring the equal treatment of her male and female peers. When Frankie discovers a secret boys’ society on campus, it becomes her secret mission to infiltrate the club to prove that the patriarchal society is ingrained from a young age.

The character development of Frankie is immense: she begins her story as a young, shielded little girl, who is primarily concerned with having a boyfriend and being part of something. The novel sees her adapt into a confident and powerful individual. The feminist themes incorporated within the book help to highlight the issues associated with male societies, and for that reason alone, this is a very important piece of literature.

Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed with this novel: it was slower paced than I was expecting and I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters. Despite this, the ideas that were introduced and analysed made this book stand out for me, and I’m pretty certain that I will be pondering the negative effects of patriarchal secret societies for years to come.

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