My Monday must-read this week is a series of books I fell in love with as a teenager.
Ann Brashere’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series is, in some ways, a toned-down, teenager-centric version of Sex and the City. Four best friends who are going their separate ways for a summer find a pair of pants that magically fit all of them.
The pants fit all of them despite their different body sizes and types. And the four of them maintain their friendship by writing letters to each other about their adventures and shipping the pants around the world.
I absolutely loved the idea of having best friends that were willing to share with me like that. In my early teens, I did have a few friends that I thought were going to be that for me. Time, on the other hand, had its own agenda and we’ve grown apart.
In the books, I identified the most with Lena, who is a quiet, artsy type. Lena visits her grandparents in Greece, meets a boy named Kostos (who just happens to be part of a family with which Lena’s has had a falling out) and has a Romeo/Juliet thing going with him for most of the summer.
I loved the way that Kostos loved Lena. He saw her despite her desire to be unseen. I’ve always remembered one particular quote from the movie version. Kostos and Lena are on a boat in the middle of the night. He turns to her and says:
“Some people like to show off their beauty because they want the whole world to see it, but others hide their beauty because they want the world to see something else.”
That quote hit me in the gut. That was exactly what I was trying to do and I hadn’t found anyone to see me it yet. But Lena found it, so I will too.
For a teenager in the awkward stages of life, this was awesome.
The books feature a quote at the start of each chapter and I really enjoyed reading those. Some are so profound and some are cheesy, but they all fit the tone of the chapter they precede.
One of the other things I really liked about the franchise is how true the movie stayed with the book. I loved Gilmore Girls, so Alexis Bledel was perfect as Lena. And Blake Lively, can you go wrong there? She was the perfect Bridget.
The foursome actually became friends outside the set and they are making a third movie based on the sequel, Sisterhood Everlasting. Will it make big money at the box office? Probably not, given the mediocre success of the first two movies, but they want to make it because they enjoy doing it.
And that means to me, it will be a great thing to watch.
I think these books helped me realize that friendships can stand the test of time if everyone is willing to put the effort in. This doesn’t always happen in life, but if you find friends like that, you can count yourself as one of the lucky ones.