First Published September 11, 2001
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is about four best friends who discover a magical pair of pants (which isn’t as stupid as it sounds, I promise) just as they are about to spend their first summer apart.
Carmen is half Puerto Rican, and will be spending the summer with her dad – the most time they will have spent together since her parents divorced. She thinks it will just be the two of them, but he has a surprise for her – a live-in fiancé complete with two teenage kids.
Bee is going to Mexico for a soccer camp. There, she meets Eric, a gorgeous coach – older and completely off limits.
Beautiful Lena is visiting her grandparents in Greece with her sister Effie. Lena’s scheming grandmother hopes that she will get together with Kostos, a future Oxford student who is home to help out his ailing grandfather. But of course, Lena has no such plans.
And Tibby. Sarcastic, clever Tibby is staying home. Her summer alone stretches out in front of her, with just a job at Wallman’s to keep her occupied. She’s into filming, and plans to work on a documentary as well. When she meets Bailey, a sassy twelve year old with leukaemia, she finds a sort of kindred spirit in her, and her summer turns into something completely different.
The first book in one of my all time favourite series. It’s hard to say whether I love this book because it’s simply a great book or because there’s a lot of nostalgia involved. Probably a bit of both. I was about fourteen when I first read it, and I suppose that’s long enough ago to form an evocative attachment to something. The thing is, there are moments that resonate so deeply within me. Like I have felt that exact same way and the words describe moments from my life so perfectly. Perhaps it’s just a really good story about what being and feeling like a girl is all about?
I love the way that the whole ‘magic’ thing is never contested or even discussed. Yes, these pants somehow fit us all perfectly. Are we going to deliberate over this and question our entire existence because of it? No. They just accept it.
The book is slightly different to the movie; mainly with Lena and the way her relationship with Kostos was shown. But there are other little differences too. My point being that if you have only seen the movie than you should read this. Likewise, if you’ve only read the book and maybe don’t like movies that are verbatim in plot and dialogue, than you should watch it.
Ann Brashares writing is lovely. It’s matter of fact, and honest, and sometimes flowery – but not in an unapproachable way. She just has a way of looking at things that are real and beautiful. A similar author would be Melina Marchetta – although I would say she is even more brutally honest than Ann Brashares (something about her writing cuts right to the bone, you know what I mean?).
I’ve read some people’s views on the stuff these young girls get up to. I mean, they’re not quite sixteen and they are off in different countries, doing amazing things. On the way back from Greece (possible spoiler, but I’ll keep it vague), Lena jets off to a different country altogether on her own. Carmen also does a bit of running around. On the one hand, I can see where these people are coming from. But on the other, I’m thinking that fifteen/sixteen year olds can pretty much do whatever they set their minds to – especially in this day and age. My own sister lived overseas with a host family for a year when she fifteen/sixteen, and that was before this book had even been released. So, I guess I would have to disagree with the notion that their experiences are unrealistic (albeit slightly irresponsible, in that sometimes they do these things without letting their parents know – but hey, they’re fifteen!).
I adore all of the characters. Sometimes they are selfish, occasionally they may even act like little brats, but that’s what humans do. Plus, they always redeem themselves afterwards. And of course, I already mentioned how relatable they are.
To me, this book (and it’s sequels) are like chicken soup, or hot chocolate, or whatever it is you have when you want to feel safe or calmed, or just better. They are my literary comfort food. I’ve just got to come back for more every couple of years!
This is a marvellous story about friendship and family and love and loss. Highly recommended.