Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl Gretchen McNeil

"Women are not on this planet exclusively to inspire men and make them happy. We have our own dreams and needs, our own shit to get done. We run companies, countries, international organizations. We're not props, and we're certainly not here to cater to men's egos..."

I wanted to read this book because it sounded cute. Beatrice is about to start her senior year of high school. She is optimistic that everything will be better this year. People will learn her actual name instead of calling her Math Girl. Her friends, the gay comic book loving Gabe and artist Spencer, won't be bullied and beaten up by the jocks. It's also the first time that Beatrice has a boyfriend, Jesse.

Despite such high hopes, senior year starts out the same as every other year. Then she arrives. Toile is weird. She dresses in mismatchy clothes with dumb hats, says weird things, and becomes inexplicably popular. The last straw for Beatrice is when Jesse breaks up with her...and starts dating a girl named after fabric.

Beatrice has been trying to come up with a project on applied mathematics to get into M.I.T. She creates The Formula, a way for her and her friends to succeed at high school. She turns Gabe into Gabriel, a gay stereotype who wears bow ties and suspenders and spouts a catchphrase. Spencer becomes the tortured artist and gets on the radar of the most popular girl in school (Even though he obviously is in love with Beatrice).

Beatrice decides to beat Toile at her own game. She changes her hair and clothes, always wearing two different shoes because that is her "thing." Now she goes by Trixie, and she studies a bunch of movies to learn how to act. Basically, she says loopy things and never acts embarrassed. There is a definite reaction to her new look and attitude. Trixie makes more friends than Beatrice ever did, and they actually know her name. Jesse also pays attention, dropping Toile for Trixie as fast as he dropped Beatrice for Toile.

Despite my hopes, I wasn't all that into this book. Beatrice was kind of slow to realize so many things. She barely talked to anyone else, but complained that they didn't talk to her. She didn't know that Spencer was in love with her even though Gabe kept singing, "Why can't I find a woman like that?" right in front of her. Finally, she didn't know that Jesse was a jerk who was looking for someone to focus on him instead of an actual relationship, and I didn't care for how much Beatrice blamed Toile for her problems when Jesse was the one she should be mad at, and he was so not worth making yourself over for. Toile and Trixie's manic pixie routines were legitimately funny, though, and I would have liked more of that.

I received my copy of I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl from Edelweiss, courtesy of Balzer + Bray. It will be available October 18th.

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