Books by Lorie Ann Grover

Books by Lorie Ann Grover
Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn: "A fantasy that reads like a lost history tome and deftly examines issues of gender...An engrossing story with welcome depths."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mean Girls, Myth or Reality?

Colleen has her latest post up for What a Girl Wants. This time we are at the table discussing mean girls. Here's Colleen's intro and my response. Be sure to pop over and read all the responses.

So, the questions: Does teen literature exaggerate the mean girl phenomena too much? If aliens landed on earth and read teen lit (oh my) would they expect to find mini Cordelias wreaking havoc on every high school across America? Are they so prevalent because it just easier to write about mean girls then nice ones? Is teen lit reflecting what is real in this instance or propagating an unfair female stereotype?

"I'm not a sociologist, but I've read Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman and Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons. I believe the nonfiction conclusion that girls leverage power in a very different way than boys. Rather than plain facts and fists, girls use words and withhold them to manipulate.

I do remember certain mean girls throughout my school experience, and I've witnessed them in my teen daughters' as well. Anti-bully programs are popular in the public school system in our area. I'm assuming both sexes are addressed.

Maybe the subject is a fad right now, Colleen. And maybe we are looking more at the mean girl herself, rather than the victim who used to concern us most. Stephen King's Carrie flashes to mind. Is this new perspective giving the subject a fresh breath in teen lit? There's a fuller story of the mean girl herself, and there's even the exploration of a placid character turning into one: Tina Fey's Mean Girls.

Those are my thoughts. I'm not overly worried or concerned. The antagonist wears so many masks. Right now, she just happens to have a very nice complexion."


Little Willow said...

I do think it's a trend, and while some follow it or write it just because it's trendy, others are exorcising their own demons from youth, whether they were the bullies or the bullied. Like anything, some of these books are stronger than others -- some are better written and more plausible than others, some add something new to the genre and lend something to consider, while others are cliche.

When I first heard that Tina Fey had optioned QB&WB, I wondered what she'd do with it, and when I finally saw Mean Girls, I appreciated that it was satirical. Odd Girl Out was made into a Lifetime movie but treated as a serious drama.

Lorie Ann Grover said...


holly cupala said...

Well said, Lorie Ann!

Exorcising demons...yes, very insightful of you, Little Willow. My strongest memories of people, of events, center around the most vivid emotions - of course those make it into writing!