What is this book about?
Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple fauxhawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan. Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud . . .
What did I think about this book?
So far I had a rather good track record with the books that I read for Dave’s blogtours. I guess it’s just natural that at some point there had to be a book that I would not be able to sing praises to.
I did not enjoy reading this book, unfortunately.
However, first the good stuff. I quite enjoyed the writing style of the book, which is great! The style was funny and engaging which made it a rather fast read. I also quite liked the setting, the school. It felt really fleshed out and real and I enjoyed spending time there. It almost felt like a whole character in its own.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where it stops being good. I think for me the book pretty much fell with the main protagonist, Alex. I just found it almost impossible to like her. I pretty much didn’t like her at all.
Alex tries very hard to get expelled from her Catholic School. She sees mysogyny and sexism at every corner and is determined to shake things up and change things around. Alex is a very open feminist and she portrays it brash and loud and with as much salt and vigor as she can. In itself, that would not be a bad thing. Fighting for what you believe, that is. It just seemed to me that Alex has a very narrow-minded view concerning the topic of feminism and she wouldn’t let any other opinion count besides her own. I think the author meant to make her seem flawed and quirky, real and relatable but for me it only made her annoying. She seemed mostly to abuse the other characters because, hey, she had the only wisdom and the only way of feminism and everybody else was just dumb. Alex seems to learn and grow only in the last chapter of the book which came for me just too little too late.
Most of the other characters felt mostly like background noise to me. The only one I liked was MK who was similarly set in her believes but not as rigid and opinionated as Alex. You could say that she was not very supportive of Alex, even though they were friends – kind of – but I relate that to the fact that Alex seemed to continuously push her to do things that she didn’t want to do and didn’t listen to MK at all.
The play that is so prominently described in the summary, somehow is not really that important for the story either. It shows up somewhat late, in the second half of the book, and is not really that important. Just like the side characters it didn’t really make that much of an impact.
In the end, I just didn’t enjoy this read. I would probably not have finished it if it wasn’t a blogtour book and I don’t think I would really recommend it to others. I feel like I know what the author wanted to do, the opinions, the flaws – maybe it was there under the surface but it seemed to me that they just couldn’t deliver.
The author: Flynn Meaney is the author of The Boy Recession and Bloodthirsty. She studied marketing and French at the University of Notre Dame, where she barely survived the terrifying array of priests and nuns, campus ghosts, and bone-crushing athletes who inspired Bad Habits. Since completing a very practical MFA in Poetry, she works for a French company and travels often between New York (when she’s in the mood for bagels) and Paris (when she’s in the mood for croissants).
The Book: “Bad Habits” is being published by Penguin on February, 11th.
Thank you, Dave, for letting me take part, event though this time it wasn’t really for me. Also, thank you to Netgalley and Penguin for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.