Monday, October 07, 2013
Sophomore Switch, by Abby McDonald
Two totally different personalities swap places to the most inappropriate of choices. But, as one would predict in a novel, the initial fish-out-of-water experience gradually turns to acceptance and life-changing success. Both girls learn something about themselves from walking in each others' shoes.
What is somewhat more surprising, given the book's general lightweight focus on fun and parties, is the strong empowerment message that comes through by the end. As McDonald writes in the afterward, she was particularly interested in exploring the sexual politics of the younger generation. That said, McDonald has created a bit of a straw person, by creating an overly simplistic reading of feminism as anti-sex (focusing in particular on Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon) in order to show how these two young women break free of such old fashioned ideas. However, there has always been a significant body of literature out there exploring the place of desire in defining identity, so McDonald (and Tasha and Emily) are hardly stepping in new ground.
There are other issues with the story itself. Some of them are little (claiming that Rousseau wrote Civil Disobedience) while others are bigger (in what exchange program would student swap entire class schedules -- trying to attend each others' classes?). But I may be taking it all a bit too seriously. The story itself is great escapist fun, with some light romance and a bit of drama to keep things interesting.