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Posted February 27, 2012
Equal parts humor and sarcasm make this book a great read
Like many good stories, Miss Smithers starts with an offer that Alice can't refuse--especially if she wants to prove to everyone that she really is a special girl. Being previously homeschooled and a bit of a loner, Alice is surprised when the local Rod and Gun Club asks her to be their representative at the Miss Smithers Beauty Pageant. That is until she hears about the four hundred dollar allottment for clothing. At that point, much to her mother's horror, Alice is prepared to participate in anything.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Unlike higher profile pageants, Miss Smithers has enough events that are varied and vague enough that every participant has a chance of being good at something. Surely that must also include a moderately well-adjusted teen who used to think she was a hobbit, right?
After one botched newsletter distribution and the purchase of questionable attire for a beauty pageant, Alice begins to question her initial (over)confidence at winning Miss Smithers. Of course, it's only then that Alice really starts to learn and grow from her brief experience as a beauty queen.
Like Alice, I Think before it, Miss Smithers has received some negative reviews from people who argue they can't connect with Alice. For my part, I can't understand why as I love Alice who seems to be the embodiment of the simultaneously apathetic and overeager teen found inside everyone.
Other negatives included a review that railed against the discussion of underage sex and drinking found in this book. There are two sides to that issue. As a teen I read a lot of books with characters who had sex and drank. Most of my friends and family will agree these readings had no detriment on my moral code. There are also a lot of books out there that are far more explicit about both topics.
In relation to this novel: yes Alice does get drunk, and yes she does consider sex quite a bit. But she also decides to take a chastity vow and spends a good amount of time contemplating what Jesus really would do. All in the same novel. Like most sixteen-year-old girls, Alice changes her mind a lot. As such, Juby creates a realistic albeit sarcastic protagonist with a well-rounded variety of experiences in this story.
Like the first novel in this trilogy, Miss Smithers does follow a diary format. The "standards" of that genre are adhered to a bit more loosely here with dated entries reading more like the usual prose. Not to worry though, this novel features a different kind of gimmick instead of the diary entries. Interspersed between chapters, Alice includes a handy newsletter (handtyped) detailing pageant events as well as a spreadsheet tallying each entrant's points and progress toward the win. These newsletters are also a great way to look at Alice's increasing maturity throughout the story as she begins to take more pride in the competition and becomes more familiar with each of the contestants.
Equal parts humor and sarcasm make this book a great read for anyone who would never usually pay attention to beauty pageants in books or otherwise.
Posted December 11, 2008
A Pageant Like No Other
Miss Smithers, a novel written by Susan Juby, is about an extraordinary girl who enters a pageant and learns about the process of becoming one of the popular girls along the way. The thing that drew my attention to this book is its colorful cover. Also, when I read what the title of the book was it reminded me of my best friend because one of her many nicknames is "Smithers". The reason I chose Miss Smithers is because I was looking for a teen novel as well as a novel that looked as though it had a lot of drama in it. But like the saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover. That was very true with this book. The things I disliked about Miss Smithers are that it takes way too long to get into the book. It's too drawn out and doesn't seem to get right to the point it's trying to make. Another thing is that it wasn't as drama filled as I had hoped it to be. It was quite boring actually. However, with every dislike there is at least one like. The one thing I liked about this book is that the main character in Miss Smithers is just like any other teenager trying to find out who she is and become the best at what she loves doing, which is to become a journalist. <BR/>The main character, Alice, goes through many situations in the novel Miss Smithers. The situations that she goes through are like many situations that teenagers today go through. These situations include urge to be popular, acceptance by parents, friendships, relationship problems, and religious problems. Throughout the novel the author throws all of these situations at you all at once making it difficult to grasp the situation or the action going on during the chapters. Something to keep in mind though while reading this is that life is very similar to the way the author treats you as you are reading Miss Smithers. Life is unexpected and you never know what's going to be thrown at you, just like with everything that Susan Juby throws at you throughout Miss Smithers. <BR/>I would recommend this novel only if you are willing to read a book that has all of these complicated situations coming at you all at once. In my opinion it was a very boring book but it had its moments that were fairly decent. Otherwise, I would not recommend this book to anyone. So if you want to read it, go for it and I hope you enjoy it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 4, 2004
Posted August 8, 2004
Posted February 16, 2004
Alice McLeod is offered four hundred dollars to represent the local gun club in the Miss Smithers competition. Four hundred dollars to spend on clothes is a dream come true, especially when she imagines being able to stretch it all the local versions of Good Will or the Salvation Army. Added bonuses are she will get an inside scoop for the paper she produces and horrify her parents who strongly disapprove of the blatant anti feminism of a beauty contest and the principals inherent in a shooting club. .................. There are enough events in the contest to assure that almost anyone can score well in one or two of them. Yet, it is not the contest that will be the most educational for Alice. The reactions and politics that enter her life as she comes under the spotlight are a revelation. She will get fashion advice from bikers, find herself in a fight with supposedly respectable young women, and shock her parents by converting to a Christian lifestyle and chastity. While there can be only one queen, Alice finds there can be several winners. ............... *** Miss Smithers is unusual. Its satirical look at life is told from a first person point of view. While some scenes are difficult to imagine, that does not detract from their realism. Alice is in her own version of wonderland, strange but possibly true. ***Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2008
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