It’s the last month of 2019, *praise hands emoji* it’s the end of the decade and I can only imagine a bunch of Gatsy style parties await us in the near future. As we wind down the year and start to write our year wrap up blog posts its time to check-in again with the Calendar Girls!
Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books and Flavia the Bibliophile and now be hosted by Katie at Never Not Reading and Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song Calendar Girl.
This month we’re looking at the book with the most diverse cast!
I mentioned this earlier this year, but I don’t read very diversely, and I know it’s a problem. Since February, I have a lot more books with different voices but I still could be doing a lot better. Reading a bigger variety of books is on my list of things to make happen in 2020.
That said, I did read a book this year that although it has many skinny white girl characters, diversity and the lack of diversity is one of the main messages of the book and even though it’s “old” at this point, it could very easily fit into the books coming out now, and feels a little ahead of its time for 2011.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray is a book about a plane full of American Beauty Queen contestants and crashes and its spirals into a little bit of a Lord of the Flies situation, but it’s all girls so it’s not as terrible. (I haven’t read Lord of the Flies so I don’t really know what happens I just know its bad).
This book has characters of color, a deaf character, LGBTQ+ characters, a character that I would call gender-fluid but identifies as masculine, as well as religious and socioeconomic diversity. There aren’t a lot of characters of color, but the book itself discusses that in text. The Indian-American contestant and the Black contestant talk about how only one of them can make it to the top 10 and talk about how they have to use their non-white background to stand out in the sea of skinny white girls.
The whole book is basically a call-out on current social norms and how we as a society need to look in on ourselves and re-evaluate.
I think this is a great book with an amazing cast, it was published in 2011, so I was a little worried some of it would seem dated, but really it wasn’t. I think if it was published today the trans character would have been done a little differently, but the rest of the story is amazing and the characters were created to be whole people and not caricatures of what they represent.
I highly, highly, highly recommend picking this book up if you haven’t. It’s sarcastic and dry-humored, while also being thought-provoking and really makes the reader think about the people around them and the different stories everyone holds inside them.
Do you have a favorite book that features a lot of diversity? Write up your own Calendar Girls post (just make sure to link back to Katie and Adrienne) or leave a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time Internet,