Blue Plate Special
The story in Blue Plate Special is told through the voices of three
main characters: Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel. Each lives in a different
time period yet faces similar problems in relationships with their mothers
and with their boyfriends. We first meet Madeline, a shy, overweight
and unhappy girl with an alcoholic mother who cares more about finding
a man than taking care of her own daughter. Madeline eats to satisfy
the “Beast” inside her that is unhappy with her life. She
begins the book grossly overweight, but when she meets Tad, a high school
dropout, she begins to find happiness and the will to lose some of the
Desiree’s story is narrated like a poem, which helps to soften some of the brutal realities of her life. Her mother is verbally abusive, her real dad is dead, and her stepfather is a jerk, to put it nicely. Her only happiness is found with her boyfriend, Jeremy, who is as sweet to her as you imagine your first love would be. She doesn’t want to grow up, but she is forced to when she finds herself pregnant—by her stepfather. When she finally realizes she must leave in order to save herself and her baby, she runs away with Jeremy, but they can’t escape their past completely.
Ariel probably has the best life out of all three characters. She gets along with her mom, has an aunt she can get along with, and a new boyfriend who tells her she’s the only thing he cares about—but oh yeah, her dad is in jail for murder. And then, things start to get a little weird with her boyfriend, and she must figure out what is important to her and how to say that to the boy who makes her knees go weak.
This book is recommended for girls who like real-life, intense drama, who sometimes wonder if their mother was ever a young girl, and those who are okay with reading about sex, violent acts, and young teenage mothers.
The first thing that you should know is that there are a lot of terribly
sad things that happen in this story. Even still, the book uses these
sad events to talk about mothers and daughters and the sometimes terrible,
sometimes wonderful things that can come out of that relationship. Becoming
a mother is a major theme—just having a baby doesn’t make
you one. It is also about the kinds of boys we choose to fall in love
with and how that affects us, our families, and our friends. Ariel’s
experience with her boyfriend is actually one of the most disturbing
and real parts of the book. As you’re reading, you can think of
a ton of guys or girls you know who act just like them. By the end of
the book, you’re cheering for Ariel as she learns what she needs
and how to ask for it.
Another topic you should think about as you read this book is the author’s point of view on sex and having babies. There are a lot of young girls who have sex in this book, and a lot of them have babies. What do you think she is trying to tell us about sex? About being a mother? I felt like she was telling us it was the best choice for all the girls in the story to have their babies, but I wasn’t convinced that was true. I kept wondering if some of the girls would have been better off giving up the babies for adoption or having an abortion. In real life, things don’t always work out like in stories--Desiree turns out to be a great teenage mom and gets to “make up” with her mom. Great for her, but how often does that happen in real life? It’s really hard to be a teenage mom! You have to give up a lot of dreams and make sacrifices, and I felt like the author wanted us to believe that it’s always worth it to be a mom, no matter how young you are and what mistakes you might make along the way. But that’s what I think--what do you think?
I look forward to reading your comments, but as you read other girls’ comments, remember: there is no wrong or right answer here. Every girl and every situation is different, and all we can do is try and learn from others. You never know what has happened to someone to make them believe the way they do—which is another thing this book really shows you in a powerful way.
For more resources on Blue Plate Special and its author, visit these sites:
- The Official Page: read an exerpt from the book for free!
- Michelle D. Kwasney's official webpage
- The history of the phrase "Blue Plate Special" and what it means today
- Blue Plate Special on Amazon.com
blog comments powered by Disqus