Prom

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Day 3 of “I have nothing to read” week produces this loosely related post about prom fashion, my most secret prom fantasy, and a speedy review of Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson.

I wouldn’t say that I was hyped about prom when I was in high school. In fact, I didn’t even go; when the countdown to senior prom came, I was all embittered, emoed, and jadded by life. Don’t worry, I didn’t spend my teen years cloaked in black, I was just very “eh” about school related activities and wanted to do my own thing.

However, I did have a dream prom. It loosely resembled that prom scene at the end of Twilight, that is, minus the broken leg and the vampires. My dream prom had a sparkling chiffon dress, an Edward Cullen-like prom date, and the beach. To be more specific, I wanted my dream prom to take place during sunset at Santa Monica Beach so I could ride the ferris wheel in my big Cinderella dress and eat cotton candy. Is that a photo-op or what? Why would you want to take prom pictures in front of a dinky painted backdrop when you could be striking modelesque poses on the top of a bright neon ferris wheel? Even in high school, I was too creative to handle.

When I speak of this dream prom to my friends, they all agreed that it was out there. Oh c’mon! Think outside of the box!

So imagine my delight yesterday when I saw this prom fashion spread in Teen Vogue. The Vogue creative directors where thinking along the same lines. I’m loving the out-of-place contrast of these big cotton candy dresses with the ’50’s blazers and the colorful sneakers. It’s the elegant/casual contradiction. I would totally wear any of these outfits pictured, but I fear if I showed up at the beach in a prom dress, people will think I’ve lost my mind.

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Now on to my long overdue review of Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson. Prom is a pseudo-Cinderella story about senior Ashley Hannigan, an apathetic teen from a working class background who couldn’t care less about going to prom until she unexpectedly finds herself as head of the prom committee.

Prom contains all the Cinderella features: a girl unlikely to go to prom, a fairy godmother (in this case, her neighbor’s Russian grandmother), a magical dress, a time limit clause, and a prince (well, if you can count her loser boyfriend as a prince).

Beyond the fairy tale premise, Prom is a story of a girl who learns to give a damn. This is the familiar Cinderella transformation as applied to the inner city. It worked; I was rooting for Ashley to believe in herself, get her life together, dump her boyfriend, and get out of the ghetto.

In comparison to Laurie Halse Anderson’s other novels, Prom has the lightest subject matter; it doesn’t deal with rape (Speak), death (Catalyst), teen suicide (Twisted), and yellow fever (Fever 1793), but I wouldn’t write off Prom as chick-lit or fluff just yet.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s signature dry humor elevates the story to a higher level and gives it that little extra oomph over other prom themed YA novels. Since I read it over a month ago, I don’t have any readily available quotes handy to show you what a great writer Laurie Halse Anderson is, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

My first introduction to LHA was Speak. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up reading every single novel Laurie Halse Anderson has ever written. I rarely read an author’s collected works, so if I personally go out and track down her entire bibliography, well, that’s saying something.

I’m guilty of author worship; she’s sort of become my hero now. Have you ever come across an author and said “when I grow up, I want to be just like him/her?” I have a list of genius authors and playwrights who are emulation worthy—Diana Gabaldon, Markus Zusak, Truman Capote, Stephenie Meyer, Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Stephen King (yes, I did just put Stephenie Meyer in the same list as Shakespeare and Capote. I have my reasons)—and Laurie Halse Anderson tops the list. Dare I commit literary blasphemy and place her name above Shakespeare? The fact that I’m even considering it, well, isn’t that recommendation enough?

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7 thoughts on “Prom

  1. Those prom dresses are hilarious. I might have worn one, but NOT the yellow Keds. That’s a bit over the top.

    My friends and I boycotted the prom, got loaded and stole a bunch of “for sale” signs from front yards and stuck them in front of the school. There was a picture of them in the paper the next day. It was the best “non-prom” ever!

  2. chartroose: wow, sounds like you were a rebel in hs!

    just a girl: I do. Check out some of LHA’s novels, you won’t regret it.

  3. Yep, I was pretty “independent” in high school. Now I’m just a big crybaby who gets teary-eyed over nearly every sad thing.

    Of couse, this has to happen when I’m alone, otherwise it would destroy my uber-appealing jaded and cynical reputation.

    I’ll try some LHA if I ever get the time!

  4. I’ve read Prom, Twisted, and Catalyst and they were all great books. I started with Twisted and loved LHA’s work so I looked in my library at school for more of her books.

    🙂

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