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The Second Summer of the Sisterhood Review–and some Potty Talk

24 Jan

So as promised, I have finished the second book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling pants series. (I’m a little late on this particular series but better late than never I guess.) I was pleasantly surprised by this novel as I felt the story improved for book two from book one. Book one was shallow and predictable–but not the Second Summer. For anyone who has yet to read this book–spoilers alert. I’ll probably divulge way too much.

Again, the readers join their four familiar leading ladies: Tibby, Bridget, Carmen and Lena. A little older now, the girls again find themselves facing daily life troubles and trying to keep their bonds strong at the same time. However, this novel is quick to reveal that book two will deal less with the Sisterhood’s interactions, and more with their mothers and how they interact with them.

Carmen once more finds herself jealous of a parent’s relationship–this time her mother’s and her mother’s new boyfriend, David. Just as in book one, Carmen doesn’t handle not being the center of attention well and ultimately ends up ruining her mother’s relationship. This time, Carmen actually owns up to her feelings and makes amends by playing cupid for them. In many ways, I was disappointed with Carmen’s stagnant characterization. Well, I suppose not completely stagnant–but she didn’t seem to learn much after the last novel’s misadventure with her father and it took her this whole book to finally understand herself enough to understand that she doesn’t always have to be the center of the universe.

Bridget, on the other hand is an almost over-the-top change of character. Since our last visit with the girls, the reader quickly learns that Bridget is facing some sort of depression, and has given herself a hideous makeover that includes dying her hair and gaining weight. After discovering a stash of unopened letters addressed to her and her twin brother, Perry from their grandmother in her father’s possession, Bee decides to head off to visit her in Alabama. Rather than just drop in and announce who she is to her grandmother, Greta, Bee instead takes on a different name and  starts working as an errand girl for her. I thought to myself–why the hell would anyone do that? That’s not only bizarre, but downright crazy. But Bee is nice enough to evaluate herself for us as the story plows forward and lets us know that she only wanted to learn about her deceased mother, Marly, and her  grandmother, from a close distance. Yeah–thanks, Bee. That makes total sense. By the way–I’m worried mental disorders run in your family. Bridget eventually re-transforms into the familiar character we met in book one but seems to have a new sense of responsibility and stability by the end of her odd adventure.

Lena, we are told, has broken it off with her Greek lover, Kostos, and is essentially the Bella Swan of this whole novel. All she does is mope, and cry and whine and essentially hate herself when she isn’t fawning over him. Lena’s own story this whole novel was ups and downs. She’s with Kostos again who comes to see her in Washington and finds herself entombed in love, then she’s dropped like a bad habit when Kostos abandons her and  mysteriously returns to Greece. You find out later why and I won’t spoil it–but Lena’s whole character isn’t really enjoyable throughout the whole book. You just feel bad for her. Top all of this relationship drama with a dead Bapi and a secret lover that Lena discovered her mother  used to have and she’s just downright depressing.

Last but not least is Tibby. As in book one, Tibby is the goth-emo kid who you want to slap sometimes. This summer she’s off to college–or rather, a college film camp. She is a rather consistent character, in that she likes to push her feelings under and pretend they’re not there. Clearly in denial after Bailey’s death in book one, Tibby takes out her grief on people around her. Mainly, Tibby takes out her frustrations on her mother, who we learn Tibby feels rejected and pushed aside by. Ultimately, it takes Bailey to bring Tibby back to herself. Even in death the little girl seems to open up something in Tibby and she is able to make amends with her mother and Brian who both had been hurt in her path of destruction.

Though I probably come off as sounding cynical of this story–I ultimately enjoyed it.  Again, these girls are relate-able and you can’t help but be able to identify with one of them at one point or another in the story. True, it’s just a bunch of T.V style drama but a little bit of the overly dramatic and juicy gossip does a girl good. Each girl in her own way discovers something important about her relationship with her mother and through this discovery, understands something a bit more about themselves.

As for the movie–which I had the misfortune of seeing–I have no idea what happened there. All I can think is that perhaps the second movie combines the second and third novel in this series because there was so much in the movie that just absolutely was not in the book. I will have to read the third book and let you know.


Also folks–I have a complaint. Please let me know if this happens to you too. I work in an office with grown adults. People at least 18 years or older. Why is it then that when I go to use the ladies room in my office–I often find myself cleaning up after people? I mean, honestly, how difficult is it to flush? Or better yet–why do grown adults feel the need to pick their nose and wipe their boogers on the stall walls? There are tissues right there!! Yuck. Seriously, it urks me to no end. I don’t generally have a fear of public restrooms–but I do fear what I might find opening the stall when nature is urgently calling.