Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins I am bouncing back and forth between rating Anna and the French Kiss two stars or three stars. On the one hand, Stephanie Perkins is a good writer and I devoured this book in a couple of days. And I liked some of the characters (Anna's friends).

But I did not like a few things. I hated the casual slut-shaming. I mean, it's not that bad but it's still there. Take Amanda for example. She is Anna's enemy and she is bitchy for the sake of being bitchy. When Anna first meets Amanda, she (Amanda) is described like this:

"She leans over her friend....and positions herself for maximum cleavage exposure" (page 25).

And I hated that Anna immediately hated Ellie for dating Étienne. Here's a quote where Anna is describing Ellie's Halloween costume:

"Slutty nurse. I don't believe it. Tiny white button up dress, red crossed across the nipples. Cleavage city" (page 144).

Every girl that Anna disliked, or disliked her is immediately described as "slutty". And they are just there for the sake of making Anna look like a good girl.

I hated the message that cheating is ok if your girlfriend is a bitch/slut. Anna knew Étienne was taken and should have waited for Ellie and Étienne to break up on their own before making a move. Or just letting Ellie have him. I also hated Anna for taking advantage of Meredith like that. They made up in the end, but it kind of disturbed me how Anna could be friends with Meredith while pursuing a romantic relationship with Étienne when she knew Meredith liked him.

I did not like Anna's ignorance of cultures outside the United States. In the beginning, Anna says that she thought oui was spelled
w-e-e. Unbelievable. Anna is from Atlanta, "one of the biggest cities in the US" (Anna herself says this) and she knows nothing about France or any other culture.

Anna herself was a boring character. I appreciate Stephanie Perkins attempted to make Anna different by making her interest in films and critiquing films, and by giving her Scottish ancestry (I am part Scottish myself, and I really liked reading about a Scottish protagonist). But the whole plot is focused on Anna's romance with Étienne so these "different characteristics were mentioned briefly and not brought up again. Anna is also very whiny, it seems she complains about a lot of small things. It was irritating.

I guess straight up romances aren't for me. I enjoy a romance on the side of the main plot, but if it dominates the whole story... I guess that's not for me. These "will they, won't they" dramas bore me. Which is a shame, because I was really looking forward to Anna and the French Kiss.

Three stars for engaging writing, some good characters, and painting a lovely picture of Paris (and making me want to visit The City of Lights even more).

But no more for casual slut-shaming, promoting the message that cheating is ok under certain circumstances and an annoying protagonist.