Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

I really wanted to like Pink.  It's, in many ways, right up my alley.  But, alas, I did not. 

Pink is the story of Ava.  Ava is a lesbian (she thinks) with an avant garde girlfriend, was raised by radical parents who convinced her that pink was bad, an idea to which she eventually adopted, at least outwardly.  However, she's decided that is maybe not who she is.  She wants to wear pink.  She wants (maybe?) to have a boyfriend.  She wants to go to a school where it's okay to be smart.  She gets herself into a private school, convinces her parents to let her go, implies to her girlfriend that it was her parents' idea and goes off to school, dressed in pink, to start a voyage of self discovery involving popular kids and outcasts.

I really disliked Ava.  She was an idiot for someone who was supposed to be smart.  She kept making stupid mistakes.  At one point, when one of her new outcast associates is telling her that pink didn't always used to signify girl, she argues and the thought in her head is, "I'm not that stupid."  Well, sorry, honey, but you are.  I found it really unbelievable that her university teaching radical parents who pushed her to wear black over pink wouldn't have brought this point up at some juncture.  This sort of thing is repeated frequently in the book.  She keeps choosing the mean kids in spite of repeated behavior showing her she shouldn't.  And then, in the end?  (Okay, spoiler here, a bit, but not in specifics - skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to be spoiled.)  It turns out she was pretty much right to choose the mean kids (and, okay, the other kids, too).  It was just too neatly cleaned up too fast considering what led up to the end.

As for the story was very lesson heavy.  I don't necessarily dislike books with lessons to teach about things like being true to yourself or finding your place.  I just didn't think Pink did a great job of that.  I felt like I was constantly being hit over the head by these lessons instead of them being an organic part of the story.

I got past the half way mark hoping for some redemption, but it didn't really get better for me.  I did finish it.  It was a fast read and there were some redeeming qualities.  I do like the overall theme.  I just didn't care for the implementation in Pink.

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