Lockhart, E. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. New York: Hyperion, 2009.
Intended Audience: Grades 7-up
Personal reaction to the book
This book was just what I needed. I was sick of cardboard female characters who only cared about falling in love.
Frankie, the heroine in this novel, figured out a way to outsmart the old boys club all-male secret society at her boarding school. She infiltrates the patriarchal system and makes the boys do her bidding.
I loved the way that Lockhart used omniscient third person for this story. It really allowed you to watch Frankie grow in a detached yet strangely intimate way. The tone is snarky and witty, very measured in a light-handed way that is difficult to pull off. Lockhart made it look effortless. Lockhart weaved in themes of feminism both blatantly and subtly, both in outright conversations and in arguments that weren’t fully formed or defined, a perfect depiction of what it’s like to have confusing thoughts of resistance to oppression without knowing how to name them. I really wish this book had been around when I was a teen girl, as I think it would have been just as empowering for me then as it was for me now.
Every July my town’s newspaper, The Swarthmorean, publishes the “Annual Summer Reading Issue” in which people can write in their five best books they read in the past year and five they look forward to reading this year. I have already reserved a spot for Frankie Landau-Banks, and it’s only November!
- E. Lockhart graduated from Vassar and has a doctorate in English literature from Columbia where she studied 19th century British novels.
- “E” stands for Emily and is her father’s nickname for her.
- Lockhart’s favorite food is guacamole, just like Frankie.