Friday, October 29, 2010

The Lonely Hearts Club - Elizabeth Eulberg

Summary:  Love is all you need...or is it?  Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating, so she vows: No more.  She's had one too many bad dates, and has been hurt by one too many bad boys. 

It's a personal choice...and soon everybody wants to know about it.  It seems that Penny's not the only girl who's tired of the way girls change themselves (most of the time for the worse) in order to get their guys...or the way their guys don't really care.

Girls are soon thronging to The Lonely Hearts Club, and Penny finds herself near legendary for her nondating ways--which is too bad, since the leader of The Lonely Hearts Club has found a certain boy she can't help but like... (Summary from book - Image from amazon.co.uk)

My Review:   Ahh.  A book that rails against the male gender while stressing the importance of sisterly bonds -- The Lonely Hearts Club hopes to target fed-up female readers who have been used, abused, and taken advantage of by the opposite sex.  Pardon me if I sound bitter, but it doesn't take a genius to come up with that marketing strategy.  I’m fairly certain that about 98% of the female population can relate to Penny’s frustration with men at one time or another. The rest are nuns.

The Lonely Hearts Club's flaws are not hard to find.  It displays all the plot predictability, simplistic writing, and insane optimism of a children’s book, but is replete with language and themes more suited to a young adult novel. Above all, this book boasts a whopping 2.5% believability factor. It's been a little while since I was in high school, but I can tell you this much--social lines are not that easy to cross. Girls don’t miraculously become loyal-to-the-core besties overnight simply because they bonded at a dance or the wrong boy dumped them. It would be nice, but that is not how it works and Eulberg’s idealistic attempt to make me believe it could, fell flat on its face and then rolled down some stairs and through a plate glass window.

In spite of its defects, The Lonely Hearts Club is an honorable attempt at uplifting YA literature. Its message of friendship, self-respect, and staying true to your convictions, is one that I strongly support, regardless of Eulberg’s sugary-sweet delivery.  Women do need to learn to establish their own self worth instead of looking to men to give them an estimate.

Unfortunately, Penny Lane and her cohorts end up being vehicles for the book's message instead of characters in their own right.  I felt like I was watching cardboard cutouts walk around the page: the mean girl, the cheerleader, the jock, the rebel. Combine these pretty, but empty, shells with enough teenage drama and I can actually close my eyes and smell the Disney After-School Special, can’t you?  Oooh, Demi Lovato would be perfect as Penny Lane, and perhaps they can snag one of those little Jonas boys to be her romantic interest.....whatever.  I'm glad I don't have cable.

My Rating: 2 Stars. For the sensitive reader: Some mild adult themes and profanity.

Sum it up: A noble attempt -- but it felt too good to be true.

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