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Derby Girl by Shauna Cross

By effcubed | Books | January 18, 2011 |

By effcubed | Books | January 18, 2011 |

Inspired by … something I can’t recall, I recently actually watched a movie I got from Netflix in a timely fashion. That movie was Drew Barrymore’s girl power, feel good, Whip It; starring Ellen Page, whom I like a lot, despite myself. On the movie’s IMDB page, I learned that the movie was based on a book. I usually prefer to read a book before I see the movie but in this case, decided to make an exception because the movie was so adorable.

Bliss Cavender is a smart, indie girl, suffering through high school, a pageant-obsessed mother and a terrible job at the Oink Shack in Bodeen, Texas. There’s basically nothing awesome in her town: no good music, fun culture, or boy eye candy; as Bliss herself puts it, “You will see Jesus skateboarding the streets of Bodeen before a hot guy wanders across the county line.” On a horribly embarrassing and unfruitful shopping trip to nearby Austin, she picks up a flier for the local roller derby league, and after conning her best friend, Pash, into attending a bout, she is hooked and goes for tryouts. Naturally, she makes the team—the Hurl Scouts to be precise—and becomes Babe Ruthless, a good derby name being key to the whole enterprise.

So many things about Bliss remind me of things that I thought when I was 16, like she is. Of course, my mom didn’t make me enter beauty pageants, but I felt pretty alienated from my suburban high school. The escape I found in taking the bus to Uptown where all the cool stores were, Bliss finds in Derby. The love I felt for my lime green polyester bowling shirt, Bliss feels for her Stryper (80s Christian rock band) tee shirt. And I get the feelings behind this statement: “I love wearing a real old shirt I found for chump change versus a forty dollar “vintage tee” that Abercrombie & Fitch sells. I mean, c’mon. If you bought it at the mall, it’s not vintage. And that’s not snobbery. That’s just a fact.” Word, sister.

Cross does a great job with the first person narrative. Bliss is snarky and hilarious and pretty frank about herself, her successes and her shortcomings. The storyline isn’t breaking any new ground, but it’s completely adorable nonetheless. And I love **SPOILER ALERT** that when Oliver, her bass playing boyfriend, cheats on her, she doesn’t get back together with him. **END SPOILER ALERT** Plus, who doesn’t love roller derby? More of that for everyone, I say.

You can read more of effcubed’s writing on her blog, effcubed.

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