Saturday, May 22, 2010
Book Review of the The Plot Against the Pom Pom Queen
Revenge of the Pig Woman
The Plot Against the Pom-Pom Queen, written by Ellen Leroe, is a tale about a sixteen year old girl named Kelsey who is being bullied by a popular girl named Taffy Foster. Kelsey decides to concoct revenge against her. When that fails, however, she is introduced to the world of MMG-Magic Male Grabbers, which give her arsenal to become as popular as Taffy. Published by Berkley in 1985, ISBNS: ISBN-10: 0425088677, ISBN-13: 978-0425088678. This book is geared towards teen or pre-teen girls, and should appeal to those who are looking for a boost in self esteem, that values such as friendship are more important than popularity, and the importance of being comfortable in one’s own skin. This is 1980s contemporary?
Kelsey Marshall is the main character and despite her constant obsession of comparing people she knows to celebrities, she is a natural leader, as well as brains of her group and a motivator. She is able to see the potential within her friends, even when they don’t see it themselves. “Squinting at Bev and Sonia in my living room, I suddenly saw them as two-thirds of The Three Musketeers. Courageous, intelligent, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” (16) not only that, she also is able to laugh off incidents that happen to her. Earlier in the book, Taffy Foster humiliated Kelsey by making pig noises while Kelsey was modeling an outfit. Afterwards, when she meets with her friends, she begins to use her humor. “’Look, if Taffy Foster has nothing to lose, then neither do I. Right? I mean, what’s worse than being called Pig Woman in public in front of several hundred laughing kids? How much lower could I sink? At least I kept my dignity yesterday. At least I didn’t hog center stage.’” (13).
However, despite these admirable qualities, Kelsey is also in possession of negative ones as well; one of those qualities is letting emotions get the best of her. In one instance, a friend of hers invited to Sandy Hawkins dance as a photographer, but due to an earlier incident she failed to show up and be there for a friend. Another quality is that sometimes she gets wrapped up with a project and tends to lose sight of what is most important. She is also stubborn and in some cases will not listen or take advice from those close to her.
Some themes that are used is that it’s better to be yourself than be popular, don’t lose sight of the major friendships, anyone can be popular, and nothing in life goes as planned. The summary of the novel is simple, yet when you dive into the story, there is a realization that it’s not as simple as previously thought, and only towards the end one begins to understand the lessons that are learned from the book. I agree with author’s themes, and these themes are important for young women to learn. It is better to be liked for real self rather than what people want you to be, along with the importance of not forgetting friendships and that it’s important to know that there are things that will not go as planned.
The introduction of the problem and the causes of the vendetta between Kelsey and Taffy is immediate, but introduction to her friends and family happens in a second chapter. The conflict continues on to the end, along with other numerous subplots. I find it amazing how the conflict seems to change from one thing to another without notice, or, rather, how it seems to finish in some parts, and how another angle is found to keep the story going, almost like real life. The climax of the story happens almost at the end as far as I can tell and it falls within the aforementioned themes. The resolution feels satisfying and also it seems that all the questions are wrapped up.
Unfortunately, the character and motivations of Taffy aren't explored. That is, what ticks this girl, and this novel is written in first person. The author manages to hold on to the first person point of view, which is very admirable I have to admit, and readers quickly know what Kelsey knows, rather than information that Kelsey doesn't know.
The author also wrote “Confessions of a Teenage TV Addict.” (Which I haven’t read or seen,) She writes mainly for teenagers and young readers, and also published a book of poetry. (Here's the website for those interested: http://www.ellenleroe.com/)
Here’s the summary from the back of the book: “Making an enemy of Taffy Foster, Pom-pom queen and golden-haired wonder of Balboa High, is Kelsey’s first mistake. Vowing revenge after Taffy humiliates her in front of gorgeous senior Cal Lindsey is her second. She’s positive her plot is foolproof, but she couldn’t be more wrong! Then Kelsey discovers Magic Male Grabbers-everything she needs to know to win boys and popularity. Finally she’s on her way to a dazzling social life-and headed straight for trouble! “
I read this book almost every year and it still manages to get hold of me and not let me go. I first got this book in June of 1999, when I was thirteen years of age, and the theme of being honest rather than playing games with different people stayed with me ever since. Even though the celebrity references are outdated,(Who is Jane Russell for instance?) It’s still a good novel for young girls who are pre-teens and teens to read and enjoy and to learn from. Perhaps it shall also teach them that revenge will not work out the way they want to, and that one day what they thought they wanted wasn’t what they wanted at all. This is something I would recommend for girls to read and enjoy as mentioned before for various lessons it imparts without being preachy or anything of the kind. From time to time, today even, when I peruse through articles about games or what to do or whatnot, I manage to recall the lessons learned from this book. Yes, it did have a lasting impact on me.
In conclusion, enjoy the novel.
4 out of 5 stars.
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep itand never let it go.)