Today, we’re going to talk about a book I received as an ARC from Netgalley:
The book is Defending Taylor, by Miranda Kenneally.
This book was pretty awful. I skimmed, primarily because it was occasionally amusing in its’ ridiculousness. To be fair, I think that this book might be well liked by prudish moms who want their kids to read an unrealistic portrayal of what could possibly, potentially happen to a kid who does something stupid, gets caught, and whose parents steadfastly refuse to act in their best interests in order to “teach them a lesson.” Since I am not that reader, I am going to make fun of it.
- Taylor’s “dream vacation” is being set loose in a museum to… read placards.
Museums. Set me loose in one, and I could stay for weeks, reading all the little placards describing each exhibit.
Honey, if you have to read all of the placards, you’re not really a museum buff. You’re a trivia buff, or someone who wants to seem more intelligent than she is.
- A teenager with tattoos is a huge deal. Huge.
…I’ve always done exactly what my parents asked of me. Sure, I bent the rules here and there, like when I used my sister’s driver’s license to get my ankle tattoo, but overall, I’ve been a very good daughter.
A teenage girl who is procuring illegal tattoos is not any parents definition of a “good” girl. If you delight in being rebellious once in awhile, that’s totally fine, but don’t turn around and pretend you’re a fucking saint. You broke the law to get something permanently etched on your skin that you’ll probably regret in five years. Get over yourself.
- Anyone who thinks of you as “the druggie girl” for taking Adderall is a fucking idiot.
Taking those pills and taking the blame for Ben didn’t just get me kicked out of school. It didn’t just mess up my dad’s job. It changed people’s perception of me. From here on out, I’ll be the druggie girl.
Emphasis in the quote above is not mine. I’m calling bullshit on this entire thing. First of all, if you’re getting kicked out of school because you got caught with Adderall, particularly when your father is a senator, then the administration has it out for you or something. It’s ridiculous. I don’t advocate abusing prescription drugs, but taking Adderall once in awhile to stay awake is not the same as snorting cocaine off your boyfriend’s ass. In addition, if your father is a senator, and he doesn’t use his connections to prevent you from getting kicked out of school to “teach you a lesson,” then he’s not going to do well in politics, anyway, and he ruined his own job by showing that to everyone. Anyone who feels bad for Taylor’s father is far more empathetic than he deserves. Any person off the street who has applied for a job knows that you have 6 seconds to make an impression on people – are we supposed to believe a senator wouldn’t consider the implications of his daughter being kicked out of school on a bogus charge on his own reputation? A senator who cannot give that much thought to his own reputation doesn’t deserve to be a senator.
- The teacher from Pretty Little Liars is in here, and he doesn’t know how to dance.
He leads me to the dance floor, where he sets one hand on my hip and eases me into a fluid foxtrot. He’s very good…
Honey, if he’s putting his hand on your hip, he’s not “very good,” he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing. If he knew what he was doing, he would have placed his hand beneath your left shoulder, so that your frame would be correct, and you would be able to feel his signals regarding what moves to do.
(Pretty Little Liars reference because the love interest’s name is Ezra.)
- While narrating, Taylor makes up nonsensical phrases
I pull a deep breath.
Breathing is an action, not a muscle. How on earth did you pull it?
- Is Taylor supposed to be in high school or in a nursing home?
‘What’s going on?’ I ask, a little miffed. I hate it when people look at their phones awhile they’re spending time with me. It makes me feel like I’m not worth their time.
Good luck existing, as a teenager.
- Taylor talking about her crush is embarrassing.
Ezra takes my hand. Gazes into my eyes. The low museum lights emphasize his handsome face. He’s a great work of art.
- Taylor = hypocrite
‘I’m sorry I’m not worth suffering through a little gossip at parties. Not that I give a shit about those things.’
Um… you’ve literally spent the entirety of the preceding pages bitching about how the things you got blamed for and actually did have changed others’ perception of you and your family. So, I’m not really convinced that you don’t “give a shit about those things.”
- Like, every freakin’ character in this novel is addicted to painkillers
‘I had to take this pill, Percocet, for a month to help with the pain. It made me drowsy all the time and messed up my stomach. But the worst part was when I had to give it up. I wanted it all the time. I’d wake up in the morning thinking about it.’
Thank you, girl delivering after-school special monologue.
- Seriously… your dad sucks
He laughs nervously and won’t meet my gaze. Guilt presses on my heart.
I suddenly don’t feel like doing this college interview. I don’t feel like doing much of anything.
Stop feeling guilty! Your father is acting like a child.
- Bitch can’t decide whether or not to apply to Yale, on the chance that she gets in, and goes even though she doesn’t want to go.
Just send your app in, bitch! It just gives you more options.
My parents wave back, but my sister flips me off, then follows with a thumbs-up. I return the thumbs up and roll my eyes.
I have… no idea what the author is getting at here.
- As the novel progresses, Taylor and her parents sound less and less intelligent.
And I’m glad my parents know I was never into serious drugs.
Um… did you parents seriously think you were into “serious drugs?” You got caught with some Adderall pills. Give me a freakin’ break.
- …And so does her boyfriend.
‘He’s so happy to hear that I want to go to school again. I think he’d be excited no matter what I wanted to study. I could’ve told him I want to be a gynecologist.’
Why would your father have a problem with your becoming a highly paid doctor?
In summation, I wouldn’t recommend. While I see where the author was trying to go with this novel, it doesn’t work.
Have you read Defending Taylor? Do you agree with my assessment? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!