So, between starting a new diet and staring obsessively at the Kindle 2 page on Amazon, willing time to move faster, I also finished the first book in the Gossip Girl series this week. And hey, I even get class credit for reading it! Library school officially rocks. While I didn’t have time to do a full-on Sweet Valley Twins recap (as I had planned) I thought I’d do a quick post about GG to tide everybody over.
Because this is a semi-new title, I’m sort of reluctant to do a full-on recap (Dear Mrs. von Ziegesar: Please don’t sue me!) but this book is way to snarkable NOT to talk about.
Ok, first of all, this book will kind of fuck you up. I really sort of hated it and liked it at the same time, which made for a very disconcerting reading experience. You come across passages like:
The whole van der Woodsen family was… tall, blond, thin, and super-poised, and they never did anything–play tennis, hail cab, eat spaghetti, go to the toilet–without maintaining their cool. Serena especially. She was gifted with the kind of coolness that you can’t acquire by buying the right handbag or the right pair of jeans. She was the girl every boy wants and every girl wants to be.
I mean… seriously? That shit makes me want to puke all over the keyboard. I freaking hate it when authors give you this big information dump about the characters, telling you how you’re supposed to feel about them without actually giving you a chance to form your opinion of your own. It’s insulting. Basically the author is letting us know in the most patronizing and boring way possible (and before Serena even says a word) that we’re supposed to want to bump uglies with her. Ok, van Ziegesar, I get it.
Ugh. Let’s just pretend I had a panty-drop moment and move on, shall we?
But, oh no, We have to keep hearing about how hot and perfect Serena is, which is weird because she sort of comes off as stiff and not very interesting. In fact, I can’t even find one quotable line from Serena in the entire book, except for maybe, “You know you love me!” which is actually a rip-off from Gossip Girl herself. So yeah. Serena, you’re hot, but you kind of suck.
Blair Waldorf, Serena’s number one frenemy, is slightly more interesting, but that’s mostly because she’s such an evil bitch that you can’t help but root for her a little. I call this Jessica Wakefield Syndrome. Basically, it’s what happens when you find a character who is so over-the-top evil that your id immediately falls in love with them and is like, “Will you be my BFF?” As some of you may have guessed, I am a bit of a Blair Waldorf fan (from the TV series) so I’m not overly surprised that I thought she was fun in the books, too. I mean, who could resist all those headbands? I know I can’t.
I’m really not going to go into the plot. It sounds even more ridiculous in summary form. Just trust me when I say that it mostly has to do with talking about brand names, getting felt up by Chuck Bass (not such a bad thing, in my opinion, but whatever), getting drunk, getting high, getting drunk again, getting high again, and planning some stupid ass party for the peregrine falcons in Central Park. Oh, and then there’s some crap about Serena auditioning for a student film and being shocked that she doesn’t get picked. And then some more crap about how sexy and amazing Serena is, which I guess we’re supposed to believe if the author tells us this five hundred billion times. The point is… Ugh, I don’t know. Buy more Prada, I guess? I can’t even remember.
Ok, so now for the re-cast… While I love the show, I noticed some glaring differences between some of the secondary characters as described in the book versus how they’re portrayed in the TV show. For the most part, the producers were pretty faithful to the source material when casting the leads, so I would probably leave the main characters as-is, such as:
Blair Waldorf, played by Leighton Meester. Ok, yeah, they kind of nailed it with this one. She’s a striking brunette with perfect highlights and lip gloss that never smudges. You really can’t get more Blair Waldorf than that, can you?
Serena van der Woodsen, played by Blake Lively. Another home-run for the TV team. She’s hot, has long, perfectly tousled blonde hair, and is so white and WASP-y that one almost needs snow goggles to safely look at her. Yikes.
But there are changes to be made, ladies and gentlemen. In the show, Jenny Humphrey, the fresh-faced Serena van der Woodsen wannabe, is played by the lovely and oh-so-slender Taylor Momsen.
Don’t get me wrong, this girl is gorgeous, but her jugs just aren’t big enough to play Jenny Humphrey. Not by a damn long-shot. Sorry, Momsen, for once being stick-thing doesn’t pay off. In the book, Jenny Humphrey is described as a ditzy brunette with gigantic cans, so I would probably re-cast the role with Jessica Simpson.
I suppose some would argue that she’s a little old for the part, but I think she could pull off behaving like a busty, vaguely talented pubescent idiot craving acceptance from the popular kids. The good thing is that it wouldn’t require much acting on her part, so it would probably be her best work to date.
And what about Vanessa? She’s played by Jessica Szohr, who is both way too attractive and way too hairy.
You see, in the book, Vanessa is described as a black-wearing emo bitch with a shaved head and a really shitty attitude. Who else would play her but–
Sinead O’Connor. Fuck yeah. I don’t care if she’s too old for the part, this bitch is an effing rebel. She’d just be all like, “I’m deep and artistic and act like I’m better than everyone at this seriously awesome private school that will get me into a good college! Woo! I’m alternative and shit!” Then maybe she’d rip up a picture of the Pope, giving no context or explanation as to why.
And she’s one of the only famous women I found with a shaved head, so our choices were kind of limited, ok?
Anyway, that’s my two cents on the first Gossip Girl book. I may do the next few books in the series, or even one of the It Girl books, which are apparently about Big Boobies McGee Jenny Humphrey going off to boarding school and climbing the social ladder. I read an excerpt today and it’s actually fairly well-written… well, compared to Gossip Girl, which I guess isn’t a particularly high standard, but whatevs.
I DO promise to get to a full-on recap of a Sweet Valley Twins book by Monday, though. For reals!
You know you love me,
Gossip Girl R.G.Q.