Saturday, 16 April 2016

The List- Siobhan Vivian BOOK TALK

This story is set in a school and, as a tradition every year, a list is made anonymously and posted all around the school. The list contains the names of two girls from each year group- one is labelled as the prettiest in the year while the other is labelled as the ugliest. The book follows this years' group of girls who have been unfortunately included in the list and what the consequences are of being in the centre of everyone's attention.
This book was certainly an enjoyable read and I really liked the clear message and display of society's issues. It was an honest representation of the problems with society and how it affects people's lives.
While, as a whole, it wasn't incredible, it was still a great read.

When going into this book I found the amount of characters a bit overwhelming. There were so many names, siblings, friendships within each year group and it was a struggle to keep up with who was who.
To get past this, my genius self, thought up a technique to remember all the names. Basically, I got a sheet of paper and I created a sort of family-tree with the different characters- this way, I could write down any notes that helped me identify and remember the character's role. This helped me a lot during the beginning stages of the book.
This wasn't a massive issue in the book for me, though. By 100 pages in, I knew all the characters and their relationships.
I'll go through each character separately because, even though their stories intertwine greatly, they each have different stories and issues that they go through.

To go through the list in order...
Danielle Demarco- The 'Ugly' Freshman
Danielle was one of my favourite characters in this book. Actually, all my favourite characters were 'Uglies'- I don't know if they were more relatable but, naturally, I just liked them more.
I admired how she dealt with the label by putting on a game face to get through it. You could tell from the beginning that her relationship with Andrew was going to become tense due to the list. In the end, I appreciated that she was the one to break things off with him as it showed her strength and prove that she deserves more than him. That made me really happy.
And when she aced her swimming race and made friends with the rest of the team... it felt like justice for the 'Uglies.' It proved that real friends don't care what you look like, that they can see past that. I enjoyed Danielle's chapters and the self-confidence that grew in her throughout this book.
Abby Warner- The 'Pretty' Freshman
I don't think that Abby was in this too much. I wasn't a massive fan of Abby in this- she seemed a bit spoilt and I think it was stupid of her to care so much that she was called the prettiest in the year. I liked her sister, Fern, and I think that Abby was a bit self-centred in everything she did. She definitely wasn't a favourite of mine.
Candace Kincaid- The 'Ugly' Sophomore
Out of everyone, I liked Candace the least. She was the only 'Ugly' that I didn't like and from the get-go, I instantly despised her. She was truly the 'ugly on the inside' character and I think I disliked her so much because she reminded me of every mean girl in my school- and I despise them. She was an exact replica of the popular people in my school and I had this instant urge to hate her. Yes, by the end I did feel a little sorry for her but I'm harsh in my belief that she got what she deserved.
Lauren Finn- The 'Pretty' Sophomore
Lauren wasn't exactly a major part for the book and I feel pretty 'meh' about her, in general. The thing I did like about her was that she loved reading. She was a bit bland but that may just be because we didn't get to learn too much about each character.
One thing that I didn't necessarily agree with was when she simply accepted the friendship of all the girls that used to be friends with Candace. She admitted that she knew it was only because of her being the 'prettiest' and yet she's still friends with them. If that was me, I wouldn't have wanted to be friends with people who only wanted to be associated with me because of a 'pretty' label.
Otherwise, she didn't do much in this book and there's not too much to talk about. If the book had been longer, though, I would've wanted more depth into her home-school background and how her mum struggles to find a job- I think it would have been an interesting back story to jump into.
Sarah Singer- The 'Ugly' Junior
Sarah was definitely the most confrontational of all the girls. At the beginning, I really liked Sarah. I thought her stunt with putting 'Ugly' on her forehead made a really good statement and it shoved massive guts.
Throughout the book though I feel like she handled things wrong. Going on a hygiene strike may make a statement but it really just shows how much the comments are actually getting to you. I think that ignoring the whole thing and holding your head high through it all would have been a much better plan of action.
As the story progressed, I also didn't  how she treated Milo. I thoroughly liked Milo- I think he was an amazing supportive friend- but Sarah unnecessarily took out her anger on him. She got jealous for no reason and abused their friendship.
I preferred her at the start of the book, to be honest. I also wanted to know the whole story of what happened with her and Milo- I was dying to know through the whole thing and I didn't find out!
Bridget Honeycutt- The 'Pretty' Junior
Overall, I genuinely liked Bridgett. She was my favourite 'pretty' and I respected her for what she was going through. This specific story highlighted the disadvantages on the 'pretty' side. The pressure to look the best and be perfect is over-whelming in Bridgett's life and I felt sorry for her having to go through that. It shows how much society can influence how we see ourselves and how judgmental society has become.
I'd like to know if she got better or not. It would at least give me a bit of closure.
Jennifer Briggis- The 'Ugly' Senior
When going into this book, Jennifer was the person I felt sorry for the most. 4 years?!?! I still sympathise her going through that but, knowing that she was the one who made the list? I don't know how I feel. I respected and admired her reaction to getting called the ugliest for the fourth year in a row but... knowing she did it changes things. I would've liked a bigger background on her but I still enjoyed her.
Margo Gable- The 'Pretty' Senior
Margo is another of the main characters in this book. I'm not sure if I liked her or not, though. She didn't have any outstanding character qualities and she seemed a bit bland. Again, I wanted to know the whole story about what went wrong between her and Jennifer.

As a whole, the book was enjoyable but it was very short which meant that we didn't get any real depth into the characters. Writing about so many characters is interesting but it means that you can't really understand or relate to an individual character. I would've liked character backgrounds but I understand how it would've been tricky in a book like this.
I love the main message of this book. It beautifully shows how much society has been warped into something purely judgmental and discriminative.
One thing I absolutely love in this book, probably more than I should have, was the last sentence. It stunningly captured the message of the book and was a perfect note to end the book on. Margo has just been announced homecoming queen and she's been given the tiara.
'Margo had always assumed the tiara would be metal.
It isn't.
It is plastic.'
I loved this because it truly showed how life is so much more than what is expected. It shows the true vision of society. It isn't strong and unbreakable- metal. Society is fake, superficial and easily broken- plastic.  

No comments:

Post a Comment