This has been a fun read to lift my spirits this week.
Hilarious, bold, sparky and surprising, this is the funniest feminist book you’ll read all year.
Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple fauxhawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan.
Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud . . .
I think I could tell as soon as I looked at the cover that this was going to be a very entertaining book and it didn’t take that many pages to prove me right. I do enjoy this kind of book, easy to read, absorbing and amusing, whilst also having a great message but one that didn’t feel forced.
Alex is an interesting character, at times unpredictable and sassy at others vulnerable and loyal, she definitely stands out and is certainly more vocally progressive than most of her classmates. I enjoyed that she was trying so hard to elicit change but that she was so focused on herself, her goals and what she believed to be right that at points she kind of became the type of people she was rallying against. Mary Kate was a fabulous opposite to Alex, more by the book, clever but also a dreamer, I liked how they bounced off each other and that they supported each other even though their goals were very different. I have to say though my love for Mary Kate definitely increased when she put Alex in her place, I won’t go too much into the why but it was deserved and showed that even when friends are critical of each other it has the potential for growth individually and in the relationship, which is what I loved about these two characters that they brought that growth out in each other.
I really loved the setting for this book and I didn’t think I would, a Catholic boarding school would maybe not have been my first pick of location after hearing that it was a YA feminist book, but it actually works really well, I very much enjoyed Alex’s exchanges with and about the nuns and the priests, it often made me laugh. The book uses a lot of the arguments that people do generally make about religion but deals with them in a light and comical tone but then also gives points from the other side of that, so instead of it feeling divisive it actually promotes acceptance. I thought it was great that there was the recognition that you can be of very opposing values but still respect each other and even end up friends, that there is always a compromise.
Bad Habits was such a fun reading experience, even when there were lessons to be learnt for Alex there still managed to be some humour injected into them, this is a fast-paced and funny book with some wonderful characters and a lovely empowering message.
Flynn Meaney is the author of The Boy Recession and Bloodthirsty. She studied marketing and French at the University of Notre Dame, where she barely survived the terrifying array of priests and nuns, campus ghosts, and bone-crushing athletes who inspired Bad Habits. Since completing a very practical MFA in Poetry, she works for a French company and travels often between New York (when she’s in the mood for bagels) and Paris (when she’s in the mood for croissants).