Friday, September 17, 2010

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger - Book Review #83

Friday, September 17, 2010
The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I would never picked up this book neither because of the synopsis (it sounded boring), not because of the cover (it is too generic), no because of the author (I’m trying to stay away from teenage writers. I have yet to see the one worth reading for someone who is older than thirteen). I read it because of rapturous reviews I saw. They said it is cynical, wit and smart and funny. They say Kody Keplinger is a new generation voice. I can’t say anything about new generation voice, however about cynical and wit – alas, I couldn’t find it.

What I found – was a teenager who was offended through her whole life, who spent too much time crying into her pillow, trying to come up with a phrases and wit remarks that she could have answered to her offenders. And one day this teenager decided to write down all these smart and cynical phrases she came up with and could never used in the real life, making herself a main character of her book.

No, making yourself into the main character of the book is not a bad thing. The bad thing is that all she imagined while crying into the pillow is completely unrealistic and cliché at the same time. The plot and dialogs turned out to be farfetched and predictable. I knew down to every word what would happen in the next pages, while I was reading.

Another thing that ruined and made this book even more childish then it already was - non-stop cursing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against cursing. I think it is a great way to express your emotions or accent your point of view. However, when cursing is just for the sake of cursing itself, when it is not imaginative (Dexter’s sister and many other examples that I can’t remember right now), but blunt, like an old fisherman talk (fucking this, fucking that), it is reads vulgar and getting old too fast.

The only good thing I could find about this book was its solid structure - the begining, the middle and the end (unfortunately, I don’t know whose credit it is - Kody Keplinger or her editor). Thus is already a good thing, because apparently some authors right now (older than Kody Keplinger, if it makes any difference) can’t even do that. Unfortunately, The DUFF lacked any characterizations, characters were so plane, cardboardish and one dimensional, that I don’t even want to get into this. Plot was completely predictable. Dialogs were unrealistic. However, The DUFF was still a novel, not a mindless rant.

Despite my negative review, I think Kody Keplinger has a chance to become a worthwhile author. There is nothing in her prose that cannot be adjusted with a simple, old fashion practice and life experience.


Nely said...

Oh, I'm sad to hear you didn't like it. I'm about to start it myself - we'll have to compare notes :)

Ovrelia said...

I hope you will enjoy it - a lot of people did.

Loraine said...

You have a nice review! Here's mine:

Thank you very much, have a nice day! :)


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