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The Treasure Map of BoysReview - The Treasure Map of Boys
Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon--and me, Ruby Oliver
by E. Lockhart
Listening Library, 2009
Review by Christian Perring
Dec 15th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 51)

The Treasure Map of Boys is a follow-up to The Boyfriend List: Ruby Oliver has panic disorder and anxiety.  However, her therapist does not recommend medication.  Instead, she recommends psychotherapy.  Ruby's problem is about relationships, and especially boys.  She is on scholarship at a Seattle prep school (prep schools seem to be E. Lockhart's specialty) and she feels that she does not fit in.  While everyone else there is pretty wealthy, Ruby lives with her counter-culture parents on a Seattle houseboat.  But her problem is more interpersonal: she does not fit in.  For me, the most interesting and enjoyable part of this young adult novel was Ruby's meetings with her therapist, mostly in the therapy sessions, but also a wonderful scene when the therapist comes into the Birkenstock store  where Ruby works at the mall.  Ruby's other interactions are with her parents and the other teens at her prestigious school, and she is awkward in most of them.  Her mother is breathtakingly frank, commenting on her daughter's pimples and breasts with apparently no self-consciousness.  Ruby, by contrast, is self-conscious about nearly everything, yet she also has gumption and gusto.  Often this novel set in the twenty first century is reminiscent of girl's fiction from a hundred years earlier (c.f. You're a Brick, Angela!: Girls' Fiction from 1839-1985).  It might all seem too contrived, but the writing is just terrific, and this is a real pleasure to read.  The performance by Kirsten Potter of the unabridged audiobook is a great deal of fun.  Even if the range of Lockhart's writing seems a little limited, she is superb at what she does, and her audiobooks are extremely entertaining, even for those who experience is a million miles from prep schools. 

 

 

Links:

·         E. Lockhart Blog

E. Lockhart novels

·         The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

·         The Boyfriend List

 

© 2009 Christian Perring         

           

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.


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