Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (copy)

When we moved into our new Mississippi home, there were some things the previous owner graciously left behind. There were straight-back walnut chairs, a wood lathe, twin bedsprings, and two 75 lb dogs; surprisingly, the two dog houses were gone. It was in minutes of our own 75 lb dog being released from the car that dominance was established. Our sweet household dog, Reba, was attack by both yard dogs and she remained in terror for a couple of months.

After three years of unsuccessful integration, our dog died (unrelated causes) and a new puppy was brought into the yard. We struggled with the idea of allowing them to mix, but puppies have a tendency to roll over and expose their bodies to aggressors. We watched closely as she wiggled excitedly from my arms and ran head-on into the alpha dog. At no point did she flip over, turn tail and run, or suffer a nip on the ear. Within a year, this same puppy, around 30 lb, became the alpha dog without much ado.

These are my thoughts as I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. In this young-adult novel, main character, Frankie, becomes the alpha dog in a group of males older and way bigger than her.

Frankie, short for Franklin, recalls a time when she could walk the halls of Alabaster Preparatory Academy in complete obscurity. Being bookish, she was content with her friends, good books and innocent crushes on certain male students such as Matthew Livingston. Any social activity was vicariously attended through her older sister and senior, Zada.

That was last year. This year Frankie has the figure of Venus, and no problem coming out of her shell. When she accidently wrecks her bicycle in front of the school entrance, none other than Matthew Livingston comes to her rescue. She is literally in shock as he offers his hand and walks her all the way to her first class.

The following week and Frankie is attending a senior party as Matthew’s date. The party is a little slow except for the cajoling between Matthew and his three buddies: Alpha, Dean, and Callum. Alpha’s real name is Alessandro Tesorieri, but he is considered the alpha dog of the pack. Frankie realizes Alpha isn’t that aggressive to smart females and her ability to rise amongst the group is possible.

Follow along as Frankie masterminds pranks with code names like Doggies in the Window, Night of a Thousand Dogs and Canned Beet Rebellion that assures her rise to female alpha.