Newest Review: ... her home in America to stay with her boyfriend who lives in London. She met Andrew briefly when he was staying at her college and they hav... more
Queen Of Babble - Meg Cabot
Member Name: MALU
Queen Of Babble - Meg Cabot
Date: 10/08/07, updated on 24/04/13 (831 review reads)
Advantages: good, if you like the genre
Disadvantages: none, if you like the genre
On the first page there's a short paragraph written in a matter-of-fact way introducing the History of Fashion, Senior Thesis by Elizabeth Nichols. Aha. The first chapter starts with a quote from Shakespeare on Indiscretion, not bad, seems that the story won't be too shallow.
But then! I like got a TOTAL shock by what Lizzy tells us about her CUTE boyfriend and I TOTALLY realised at once that I was TRILLIONS of years OLDER than the protagonist, okay, I knew that I would be beforehand, but she's ONLY 22, couldn't she be at least, say, 35, and NOT use American college girl speak?! It was clear that I would so not be able to feel with her that I knew: I. Had. Made. A. Mistake. Oh God, that was AWFUL! Okay, okay, things like that happen, onto Amazon marketplace with the book is what you may think now, but you know, I like hesitate more than you'd do in such a situation as I HAVE NOT got such a great choice of English books as you have. And I like remembered that I so wanted to read something LIGHT, lighter, I thought, was HARDLY possible, so I read on.
Elizabeth Nichols, aka Lizzy, has just graduated from college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, her subject is The History Of Fashion, or has she? During her graduation party she learns from her college advisor that she should have written a thesis but as she hasn't done so, her studies aren't complete and she hasn't got a degree after all. A thesis? Indeed? But how should she have known? Nobody had told her! The college advisor promises to keep quiet about this and tells her she can hand it in later but urges her to start writing at once, to use her time in London for research work.
Yes, Lizzie is going to London to visit her boy-friend Andrew for three months. She got to know him when he pulled her out of the shower when her dorm was on fire and then stayed with her for some hours, that was her only meeting. After his returning to London for the summer, they email each other every day and Lizzy soon knows that she's found the man of her life. She's fallen in love with his accent, Andrew is British, and he wants to become a teacher, he wants to teach kids to read and to write, can you imagine?! Have you ever heard of anything so brave? She already knows the names of their four children.
Yet, instead of fetching her from the airport in his own car and taking her to a friend's apartment as promised where they'd stay in bed all the time and make love, he comes with his father in the family car and she gets a bunk bed in the laundry room his mother has made up for her. It turns out that he hasn't got a summer job in a private school as he told her but works twelve hour shifts in a restaurant - he leaves her with his parents nearly immediately after arriving home - but that isn't all, he also collects dole money, he *cheats on the state*! That is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Lizzy leaves him the following day and travels to the south of France where her friend Shari and her boy-friend Chaz from Ann Arbor are staying in a castle to help organise weddings - a way to earn some money for the upkeep of the estate. Chaz knows the son of the family and has got the job through him. Lizzie can't get Shari on the phone to announce her arrival and ask for details but somehow gets onto the right train where she meets an absolutely gorgeous fellow-traveller who speaks English and lets her cry on his shoulder. She tells him about her problems with Andrew blabbing out *all* her intimate secrets - she won't see him again, will she?
She arrives at her destination when it's already dark and starts wondering how to get to the castle with her ten words of French, but surprise, surprise, the gorgeous young man gets off as well, he's the son of the castle people and Chaz's friend from their common time at an American uni. Ah! But his girl-friend is waiting for him, a super sexy, cool chick with Manolo Blahnik sandals for 600 $ and boobs that don't move no matter how much she jumps around.
The main part of the novel deals with the happenings at the castle, the preparation of the next wedding - it's a family matter this time, Luke's cousin is marrying - and Lizzie putting her foot in wherever and whenever it's possible. For her it's physically impossible to keep her trap shut, what comes to her mind must be spoken out loud, preferably to the wrong person and in the wrong situation. "WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE THE BIGGEST MOUTH IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE???" I must confess that I find Lizzie's adventures quite amusing, she *is* an oaf, of a simple-mindedness and naivety that hurt, but somehow one can't but like her.
"Do you judge on first appearance?" - Lizzie wouldn't understand the question, of course, she does. She's a fashion buff, one look at people's clothes and their way of dressing and she knows what kind of person is standing in front of her, and she's always right! Her thoughts are described in detail, that means we learn everything there is to learn about fashion - at least I've got the impression.
Why each chapter (after the excerpts of Lizzie's thesis on the History of Fashion) begins with a quotation on gossip/talking by the most illustrious thinkers is a mystery to me, I can only assume that the author wants to give her light novel some weightiness in order to prevent it from flying away. But she definitely took them out of the wrong drawer, she should have used a lower one, why not quote current celebrities (the Beckhams?) instead of Marcel Proust, François Villon, Henry David Thoreau, Friedrich Nietzsche - to name but a few. The Lizzies of the world don't know any of the names, it's mere showing off on the author's part and costs her one star.
So what is my final verdict about the Queen Of Babble? Well, I think the book is TOTALLY okay and can be recommended if
- you're between 20 and 25 years old
- you're female
- you're interested in (and also like reading about) sex
- you hyperventilate when you see a vintage brand dress
- you don't cringe when you see youth speak in print.
RRP 6.99 GBP
Summary: an American college girl's summer in Europe