I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

Aqua, “Barbie Girl”

 

 

For those of you who have yet to read these profoundly moving – and immensely important – novels, Westerfeld offers up an overview on his website:

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not a big graphic novel fan but this was a truly fabulous reading experience – the story was obviously gripping but the vividly imagined visuals brought the characters and the locales (like the Ruins) to life. Reading this graphic novel compelled me to order all of the Uglies novels – I do want to read them again but I also want to have copies around for my daughters when they’re old enough to read: the lessons to be learned and the wisdom to be gained in Westerfeld’s dystopic vision is, in my mind, absolutely essential.

 

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand the thematic significance of this storyline, especially when it comes to young readers. Just look around: we are being bombarded with images of human beings that are physically abnormal, unnatural – inhuman! –  everywhere we turn. Botox, dermal fillers, breast implants, liposuction, abdominal etching, toddler teeth whitening, hair transplants, steroid abuse – it’s insane!

 

Is it any wonder so many of our kids are growing up filled with self-doubt and self-hate?

 

An excerpt from Uglies sums up why these novels are so important:

 

“We're not freaks…we're normal. We may not be gorgeous, but at least we're not hyped-up Barbie dolls.”

 

With an Uglies movie in the works (it’s rumored to be released later this year), I can’t recommend these novels highly enough to young readers – and to parents of young readers – and this new graphic novel is a perfect way to introduce new readers to this saga.

 

“I don't want the doctors to take me apart and put me back together. I want to make myself.”

Uglies: Shay's Story by Scott Westerfeld

 

 

Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 

 

 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

Comments
by lkpj on ‎02-28-2012 04:43 PM
Paul, As a former Children'sPastor, I can whole heartedly agree with you on this issue! Kids are forced to grapple with their physical dentity earlier and earlier, and frankly, it is NOT helping them. They come out of elementary school thinking they are old enough to "get physical" in all aspects of the terms in life. Exercise is a tool for sculpting their bodies, not just having a healthy lifestyle, etc...They are aware of themselves in ways I didnot even have when I came out of college with in the 70's! As a Pastor, I saw first hand what a poor self image could do at the earliest ages and stages, as well as what an over developed self image, be it accurate or not, could do to a child and a family. Neither is always a guarantee for good or evil, but, and this is critical here, the potential for damaging a child on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels, is all too real! Read these and then discuss them with your child. You will learn a great deal and I know your child will like the plain fact that you took time to be a part of his or her life. There may even be some lasting communication and habits established. It is an opportunity for a win win situation!
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