Ever since I first heard about The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg, I’ve been dying to read this graphic novel—I was drawn to the book’s mysterious cover and title. After a frightening attack on Metro City, Jane’s parents decide to relocate to suburbia, where they feel safer. Rather than join the cool girls’ table at lunchtime, Jane opts to sit with the misfits, who happen to all be “Janes” (Jane, Jayne and Polly Jane). After trying in vain to join several after-school clubs, Main Jane comes up with a great plan: she and the other Janes will start a guerrilla art group called P.L.A.I.N., People Loving Art in Neighborhoods. This gives Main Jane the opportunity to test the theory that “Art Saves.”
One of my favourite movies of all times is Muriel’s Wedding, which was written and directed by P.J. Hogan, in part because of the standing-up-to-the-mean-girls scene. I loved The Plain Janes for a similar reason: it ups the ante, providing the so-called uncool girls with an opportunity to come into their own while still in high school.
The first time I read the book I thought the imposition of a curfew brought the story into SF territory, which detracted from my enjoyment of it. (I’m not sure why, exactly, since I enjoy SF, but that’s another issue.) It turns out, however, that curfews are not that unusual in the U.S.—apparently many cities have them. Here in Canada, curfews are almost unheard of and generally considered unconstitutional.
[END OF MINOR SPOILER]
There is one somewhat major plot point that is left hanging at the end of the story (which bugged me; I’m still not used to the serial nature of comic books), but I figure it will be resolved in the sequel, Janes in Love. Overall, though, I loved this book. To get a taste of the art (which I also loved), see my Teaser Tuesday for this week.
To read other reviews of this book, head over to these blogs:
Big A little a • bildungsroman (review of both The Plain Janes and Janes in Love) • Book Addiction • Booktopia • Chicklish • Conventioneers! • FOB Comics • Fuse #8 • Newsarama • Presenting Lenore • The Written World • The Zen Leaf
Read an interview with author Cecil Castellucci:
Girls Read Comics
I read a library copy of this book.