Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Trinkets by Kirsten Smith

Book:  Trinkets
Author:  Kirsten Smith
Publisher:  Little, Brown
Date:  Now available
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
My grade:  C+

Sixteen-year-old Moe's Shoplifters Anonymous meetings are usually punctuated by the snores of an old man and the whining of the world's unhappiest housewife. Until the day that Tabitha Foster and Elodie Shaw walk in. Tabitha has just about everything she wants: money, friends, popularity, a hot boyfriend who worships her...and clearly a yen for stealing. So does Elodie, who, despite her goodie-two-shoes attitude pretty much has "klepto" written across her forehead in indelible marker. But both of them are nothing compared to Moe, a bad girl with an even worse reputation.

Tabitha, Elodie, and Moe: a beauty queen, a wallflower, and a burnout-a more unlikely trio high school has rarely seen. And yet, when Tabitha challenges them to a steal-off, so begins a strange alliance linked by the thrill of stealing and the reasons that spawn it.

Hollywood screenwriter Kirsten Smith tells this story from multiple perspectives with humor and warmth as three very different girls who are supposed to be learning the steps to recovery end up learning the rules of friendship.

Initial reaction

Cover story

What’s the story?
It looks like lukewarm is the theme of this novel.  It wasn’t a bad novel, it just didn’t rock my socks off, if you know what I mean.  This novel had a lot of potential, but it didn’t quite live up to that potential for me. 

So here’s the deal.  There are 3 girls and they all have some issues at home for various reasons.  Things are just not very Leave It to Beaver in these homes.  I mean, there’s no violent abuse or drug trafficking or anything, but there is some slight neglect I suppose.  None of these parents are going to win the Parent of the Year award, but DSS is not ready to show up on their doorsteps either.

So the three girls all turn to shoplifting as a way to deal with the emotional turmoil they are experiencing.  Now, I have to say that I did enjoy reading the 3 voices in the alternating chapters.  That is hard to pull off, but it worked for me.  And I think that Kirsten Smith did a great job of capturing each girl’s voice.  I also liked that the 3 girls from different social groups came together to find common ground.  I mean, it’s a total cliché, but it’s a nice one.

So what was it that made this novel just so-so for me?  Maybe I’m showing my age here, but I would have liked to see the girls show some remorse for what they did.  I mean, these girls committed crimes!  And I feel like the seriousness of that gets a little swept under the rug.  I like to read books where the protagonist grows and learns to be a better person and I’m not sure that happened here.  I call it the Wimpy Kid Syndrome, because just like in that novel, it feels like the girls only felt bad about what they were doing after they got caught and because they got caught.  There was never really an a-ha moment where the characters redeem themselves.  That really bothers me.  I mean, isn’t one point of literature to help us grow as human beings?  This book isn’t teaching us anything except that you shouldn’t get caught shoplifting and the support groups are lame.

I never lost interest in the story, but I never really felt connected to it either.  There are probably a lot of people who will like this book and feel ok about its seeming indifference to the moral wrongs of shoplifting, but I’m not one of them.

The Soundtrack

Been Caught Stealing by Jane’s Addiction (I couldn’t resist this one at all….sorry!)

Everybody’s Changing by Keane

My Friends by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

We’re All in This Together by Ben Lee

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is a C+.  It was a pretty average read.  I didn’t have difficulty finishing it, but I closed the book wishing it had just been more.

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