Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Series

Three years ago this June, hubby and I went away for a week in northern Minnesota (that's actually the week we became betrothed). Knowing it would be a week of relaxing on the deck of the cabin and the boat, I wanted a mindless, fun book to read. I picked up The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants at Target. I was a bit embarrassed. These were books for pre-teens and teenagers. But, the movie had just come out with America Ferrera and Alexis Bledel, and I loved those actresses from Real Women Have Curves and Gilmore Girls, respectively. Maybe the book would be a good read? Well, it was and I was hooked.

Fortunately for me, the next two books had already been released, too. And I absorbed those two over the summer, too. I had to share the love, so my two best girlfriends and I formed a mini Pants book club, mailing the books to each other (our own version of the Pants, perhaps?). The books made us laugh, cry and gasp. The fourth and final book even made us feel it was a bit too racy for its intended audience.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Four friends are going to spend the summer apart for the first time since they were babies. A pair of thrift store pants - which magically fit these girls of all different shapes and sizes - are what keep them in contact. They send each other the pants - using them when they "need" them, sending them along with a member of the sisterhood needs them. The girls experience love, remarriage, sex and death over that summer.

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood: Bridget heads to Alabama to meet her grandmother, Lena spends time with who she thinks is her true love, only to be surprised by a shocking revelation, Carmen's mom starts dating, and Tibby takes a film course, learning more about herself along the way.

Girls in Pants, The Third Summer of the Sisterhood: Lena takes a controversial art class against her father's wishes, Carmen's mom falls in love, Bridget heads to coach soccer camp with a former flame, and Tibby goes through some family trauma of her own. Once again, the Pants prove comforting for all.

Forever in Blue, The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood: The girls definitely grow up this summer after their first year of college. Lena has a romantic fling with a fellow art student, Carmen takes up theater and falls in with a very dramatic friend, Bridget takes a trip to Turkey for an archeology dig - meeting a very engaging professor, and Tibby learns what it means to be in an important relationship with her boyfriend. The Pants take them on one last adventure before they're ready to let them go.

Again, I loved these books. Quick, engaging reads. I think author Ann Brashares does a good job of creating strong female characters who are very different - sporty, arty, nerdy, beautiful, skinny, chubby, from broken homes, of blended families, and of different nationalities. They all have strengths and weaknesses, and they all need each other. It's a great series about friendship and acceptance. I don't think we're ever too old to read about such relationships. My girls and I look forward to the movie sequel come August. It won't be one for the Oscars, but it'll make us laugh and cry, I'm sure.

What other books or series out there are written for kids, but adults can enjoy, too? Obviously, Harry. Any other recommendations?

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