Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein

Libby Schmais
For ages 14 and up
Random House, 2009   ISBN: 978-0385737562

More than anything Lotus Lowenstein wants to go to Paris to be an existentialist and to fall in love with “a dashing Frenchman called Jean-something.” Unfortunately, her parents are not very supportive of her dream, and they are not about to pay for Lotus – who is fifteen – to go France. Lotus decides to get a job at a local wellness center to pay for her ticket to France, and then she sets up a French club at her school. She is quite resigned to having a total of two members in the club (herself and her best friend Joni), so she is very surprised when a rather cute boy called Sean turns up at the first meeting. Sean is really into existentialism and Jean Paul Sartre, so he is a perfect fit.

Without really being aware of it, Lotus starts to fall for Sean, and she isn’t the only one. Joni also thinks that Sean is just the guy for her. Both girls are deliciously happy until they find out that Sean has been double dipping. He truly believes in the whole free love thing, and he has no problem with kissing both girls. The girls, on the other hand, find that they are not as free thinking as they thought they were.

Written in the form of a diary, this book is funny, poignant, and thoroughly delightful. Sprinkled liberally with French words and phrases, Lotus’ diary entries truly capture some of the confusing things that young people experience as they navigate the turbulent waters of adolescence.