Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beauty Queens

Libba Bray's Beauty Queens is the story of Miss Teen Dream plane crash survivors. It is a satire of reality tv and big business, mores in society and the political system. A lot of the jabs toward these institutions are blatantly obvious and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments.

"...which was protested by Concerned Citizens of America First for allowing more than ten black people on stage at one time."

"Sexuality is not meant to be this way--an honest, consensual expression in which a girl might take an active role when she feels good and ready and not one minute before. No. Sexual desire is meant to sell soap. And cars. And beer. And religion."

"People like to hear your future plans for ovaries."

"Void where prohibited in states where the school board has banned A Tale of Two Cities because Charles Dickens is clearly a pornographic name."

Once their place crashes, the survivors need to find food and water--and continue their pageant preparation routine. They are surprisingly adept at taking care of themselves, building huts, catching fish, and collecting rainwater.

I really loved all the contestants, from Miss Texas Taylor who whole heartedly believed in the pageant mentality to Mary Lou, an at-times reserved Miss Nebraska, to the almost interchangable Miss Alabama and Miss Mississippi winners. But honestly, all of them were fun characters. I think my favorite was Miss Colorado.

One of the things I didn't particularly care for in the novel was the appearance of the reality show pirates. These young men provide love interests for a few of the beauty queens and I thought their addition took away from the real story: the girls realizing that they are strong women. In having these chracters, Bray ventures in to the romantic idea that we must have sexual relationships to have a good book. Unfortunately by doing so it kind of ignores what the rest of the book is about.


  1. I read this book as well. I also did not like the pirates. I thought it was kind of hokey and random sort of if that makes sense?

  2. Yeah, it really detracted from the book.