I like YA books. They’re usually quicker reads and more plentiful and less depressing than adult versions of the same thing. So it’s probably no surprise that I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares. Actually, I loved it.
So when the last book in the series, Sisterhood Everlasting, was released, I was super duper extra luper excited.
That was a mistake.
First, we find out that all the main female characters, Bee, Tibby, Carmen and Lena are pretty much losers. They used to be goal-oriented, reach for the stars girls. They attended private, expensive, limited admission schools. They had impressive internships. You’d be proud to have one of them as your daughter. That’s all you really need to know about the previous three books, because, well, because they’re not really the same characters any longer.
[If you have any desire to read this book (you shouldn't, but I can't mind control you yet), stop reading now. Spoilers ahead.]
Bee graduated from an Ivy league and was an excellent soccer player, but now she lives with her boyfriend and mooches off of him while she stays home and bakes cookies.
Lena wanted to be an artist and after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design and having some success in gallery showings, she’s…destitute and teaching part-time. (OK, this one is kind of accurate for an artist.)
Carmen wanted to be an actress and—wait for it–IS. She went to Williams and starred in lots of plays. Now she’s successful and on Law and Order but it’s not called that for whatever reason. She’s on Fake Law and Order.
And she’s engaged to some random rich network TV dude! Which is a step up because in all three of the previous books, they never really talk about Carmen with much in the way of romantic prospects. My theory on that is it’s because she’s a little bit round and also half Puerto Rican. You know how men don’t find Hispanic women attractive ever, right?
Oh, but even though Carmen is successful, she’s miserable. Her fiance is a douchebag, her job is really boring, and she’s basically lost her soul and only thinks about her career. How awful!
Oh, and Tibby? She wanted to be a filmmaker.
Now she’s dead.
But that’s OK! Because before she died, Tibby got married! And had a baby! And…what? Do you want more from her? She succeeded as a human being, clearly. She was the best off of the four! Sure, she didn’t have a job and she died mysteriously, possibly from a suicide, but listen. SHE HAD A BABY. And she married a rich man! That’s all it takes for a woman to be happy, right?
That’s clearly the thesis of the novel, because this is what happens to Bridget, Carmen and Lena by the end of the book:
No, seriously, that’s the end of the book. Bridget is pregnant and engaged to a (rich) lawyer. Carmen has lost a good job but met a man with babies (He speaks Spanish and so does she so it was clearly meant to be! That’s seriously all they have in common.) on a train and is in love. Lena gets engaged to a (rich) businessman and paints in a hobby sort of way.
What more can a woman want? Oh, and they have their BEST FRIENDS! Womenfolk to surround them and help raise their babies! Awww!
Now, you, dear reader, can go out and ditch your career and your aspirations and find yourself a rich businessman/lawyer or, if you’re not white, anyone who speaks your language. You’ll be happy you did, ladies!
Thanks Ms. Brashares, for the insights, and for obliterating the message of your previous three sort-of-feminist books.