Monday, March 29, 2010
It wasn't too long ago that the world (or at least a small portion of the world) was focused on Hollywood, and their orgy of self-congratulation, the Oscars. In my opinion, the worst part of the Oscars is the pre-show red carpet bullsh*t. Every year we get to see the stars who are only at the Oscars because they will be presenting some retrospective feature not because their body of work merits their appearance at the show. The question that must be asked of each of these worthless stars and starlets is, "Who are you wearing?" (The question kind of creeps me out, because they say, "who," not "whose design," or "whose dress," or anything sensible like that. I can just imagine these women wearing their designer skinned and draped over their neck like women used to wear furs in the 1910s and 20s, with the animals head still attached and stuffed like a hunting trophy). The obsession with clothes and fashion is simply something I don't care about at all.
Therefore, Scott Westerfeld's So Yesterday was not the book for me. He's written steampunk novels, he's written novels about vampires (I'll be reviewing the vampire one coming soon), and I could easily get behind those books, but this one is about the ever-elusive and ever-bullsh*t quality of being cool--wearing the right clothes in innovative ways and so forth. I don't care. I could barely be asked to care when I was in high school, when most kids obsessively worry about that crap. Now, with years of hindsight to look back on high school with, I sure as hell am not going to worry about that crap. So, like I said, the book was not for me. I don't fit into the proper target audience.
That being said, Scott Westerfeld, however, is a bang-up writer. The book, despite being about things I couldn't give the slightest crap about, was engaging enough to keep me reading. There were dozens of clever things he did in the writing of the novel as well to keep me smiling and paying attention. For example, he purposefully left all brand names out, but he would describe the brand in a way that would tell you what the name was all the same. For example, when describing Nike, he eschews their name but says, "They were a certain athletic shoe company named after a certain Greek god." There were many more that were even more entertaining. It was a fun game sprinkled throughout the book to identify the brands (which included TV and movie franchises as well) that he was speaking of.
I look forward to reading more Scott Westerfeld in the future, because I know he's written several books to which I would be in the target audience. I just couldn't recommend So Yesterday to you, unless perhaps you watch fashion shows on TV instead of reality shows or narrative shows (they do still do narrative shows on TV somewhere right? Some obscure cable channel or something?) or the red carpet is your favorite part of Oscar night. If that's the case, then this might be exactly right for you.