Monday, August 07, 2006

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

Book: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
Author: Dyan Sheldon
Published: 1999

Lola Cep, star in the making, has always suffered from being surrounded by normalcy. First her parents had to go and name her Mary Elizabeth (ugh!). Then she’s taken away from New York City, the center of the universe, to suburbia hell, otherwise known as Dellwood, New Jersey.

But a true artiste remains strong through trauma, so nothing’s going to keep Lola down--not her soul-deadening surroundings, not her mother and sisters’ disrespect for her suffering, not the breakup of Sidhartha, the best band ever. At least she’s got a new best friend, even if Ella Gerard is depressingly practical most of the time.

And, of course, what’s a great heroine without a great villainess? In this drama, that’s the part of Carla Santini, queen of Dellwood High, who’s always gotten whatever she wants . . . until Lola came along. It promises to be a battle of epic proportions, so pop a bag of popcorn and sit back to enjoy the show.

This is the way I feel about this book. I haven’t seen a Lindsay Lohan movie since “The Parent Trap,” but if “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” is even half as good as its source material, I’m heading for the nearest Blockbuster right now.

Lola’s first person narration overflows with drama and trauma to the point of hilarity, and Sheldon adds enough redeeming qualities--such as Lola’s genuine talent at acting and her determination not let the Evil Carla win--to keep her from becoming cartoonish. Some of the story elements are a bit farfetched, but it fits the tone.

Finally, for me, the best part of this book was watching Lola’s influence transform Ella from a frightened shadow into a tough, smart and gutsy gal in her own right, more than able to handle both Carla Santini and Lola herself. If Lindsay had had an Ella in her life, maybe she’d be better off today.

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