October: Class Nonconformist, Not Pictured

As Anna mentioned in her last post, the new school year is chance to reinvent yourself. But the opening entry of October reminds us that it’s not always that easy as Jessica and her classmates are subjected to the tyranny of class monikers. It’s way easier to keep people in the roles that you’ve already assigned to them, rather than accept a transformation, particularly when you’ve known them since elementary or middle school. Bridget wants to be known as a serious actress, but people only see that she’s attractive. She can be great in the school play and get into a summer program on merit, but her classmates still fixate on her looks. Even though Jess thinks that Len is good-looking, she can’t get over his awkward stammering. She’s so obsessed with Marcus not showing up for his nonconformist picture that she can’t even figure out that Len could be asking her out—both in the moment and with reflection.

I always forget that Jessica quits running track and writing her editorials in the same month. Partly because I don’t remember that Jessica continues running after she breaks her leg. In typical Pineville fashion, everyone has a theory about why she quit the cross-country team, but no one seems to care that she quit writing for the paper. Jess’s running was a part of what defined her for so long, and her peers and her dad have a hard time figuring out why she would give it up. But by quitting, Jess is able to break away from her former identifier in a way that Bridget never can.

 Stray Observations

  • I’m so glad that we never hear about K8linnn Maxxxwell, the female class nonconformist, ever again.
  • Everyone should feel free to start referring to me as “the smart cookie with great gams.”
  • The way Bridget chews on the end of her ponytail, it’s a wonder that she has long hair!
  • A dictionary! Nothing conveys Jess’s panic over Marcus being in her room better than her grabbing the dictionary to cover up her practically see-through tank top! 

I planned to recommend something else, but I just watched Teen Beach Movie, a Disney Channel original movie, last night and I’m obsessed! Mack and Brady get transported to Brady’s favorite movie, Wet Side Story. A biker girl and a surfer boy are supposed to fall in love and bring their cliques together, but Mack and Brady get in the way and have to set things right. This movie is like Pleasantville, if they’d been sucked into an Annette Funicello beach movie. It’s also a musical, as it should be.

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