Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein - Libby Schmais

Lotus Lowenstein is a Francophile, someone in love with all things French. With the help of her friend Joni, Lotus creates a French Club at their high school. At the first meeting, the two girls are surprised when Sean shows up. Sean is handsome, to say the least, but both girls like him. Sean, inspired by his idol, Jean-Paul Satre, however, has no intention of choosing one over the other. Eventually, Sean creates a rift in the friendship between Lotus and Joni. When the French Club gets the opportunity to go Montreal, Lotus is not thrilled. Why would she want to go to Montreal if she would have to suffer seeing Joni and Sean together?

In The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, Libby Schmais uses a common idea--a love triangle--and creates something that stands out. Schmais made the novel unique by the format and the protagonist (Lotus). The novel is set up in diary format. The diary itself is an assignment given by Lotus's English teacher, similar to Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey. This format allowed readers to get personal (nice phrasing, yes? :P) with Lotus.

Lotus herself is a character filled with personality! I have read hundreds of novels, and yet, Lotus stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable. Before I began this novel, I was not sure if I would like Lotus. I was afraid that her obsession with all things French would annoy me after a few pages. I was wrong. Lotus remained amusing throughout the entire novel. Schmais was able to do this by adding humor throughout the novel.

My main complaint with this novel deals with the minor characters. I wish Schmais would have fleshed them out more. Given that the novel is in Lotus's perspective, I realize that opportunities to discuss minor characters are limited. However, it seemed like Schmais had perfect places to insert more details about characters, yet she did not. In several parts of the book, Lotus mentions Joni's mom. Schmais offers few details about Joni's mom (who has a certain condition), and I felt myself unsatisfied. I mean, why mention her at all, then? While Schmais did leave the novel open to sequels, I do not know if one is actually planned.

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein is a great book for anyone interested in French cultures and/or likes unique protagonists!

Related Links
Libby Schmais's site
Libby Schmais's blog

I received this book from Book Divas.

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