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View Diary: Bookflurries-Bookchat: Late Night Thoughts (169 comments)

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  •  A Tale of Two Princesses (12+ / 0-)

    aka Where have you gone Bernadette?.

    Based on the description in bookgirl's diary, I thought I would hate the characters, but it's worth testing prejudices from time to time.

    I hated the characters.

    In Seattle the younger princess, Bee, has gotten straight A's in middle school, and gets to pick a present as promised. She picks a cruise to Antarctica. In addition she is accepted to some East Coast boarding school as her family had hoped and expected (both prince charming and the broken princess, Bernadette, are boarding school alumni.) The broken princess calls Seattle commoners "gnats".

    I had trouble with the middle school kid asking for and getting a cruise to Antarctica as reward for grades. It's foreign enough to my experience that I had trouble feeling any sympathy. It's rich people problems.

    I was also baffled by the East Coast boarding school for a kid from Seattle in the 2010s. I went to high school in California and maybe Seattle is different.

    The characters also didn't really work for me. Each had bits and pieces of real characters, but joined like a collage of magazine photographs that didn't really fit together, like the blind men describing an elephant.

    And the central premise didn't work for me. In part because there were pieces of the main character missing. In part because there's a psych study about encouraging bright children that seems relevant.

    At first, bright kids can guess answers to things like early math. Some kids are praised for being smart. Some kids are praised for working hard at the problem. The problems get harder.

    With the harder problems, the kids who were told they were smart give up more easily. Since they failed the problem, they're clearly no longer smart, and there's no sense working further. But the kids who were told they'd worked hard persevere because they treat the harder problems as a challenge.

    Bernadette is one of the first set of kids.

    Now, plenty of people liked the book. So I'm not going to say it was bad, only that there was a clash between my experience and the book's that I didn't like it.

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