Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Taming of the Tights

The Taming of the Tights

Louise Rennison
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
HarperCollins, 2013   ISBN: 978-0062226204

Despite the fact that she cannot really dance, sing, or act, Tallulah Casey is back in Yorkshire, eager to begin another term at a Performing Arts College. She does not mind that the weather is awful and that the locals are not very friendly towards the girls attending the college. She does not even mind that the school is falling apart, is in financial dire straits, and that the so-called teaching is mediocre at best. Tallulah wants to be a performer and she is convinced that being a student at Dother Hall is her ticket to stardom.

   On the first day of term Tallulah eagerly leaves her lodgings in the town of Heckmondwhite and walks to the college, where she is united with her three best friends: Jo, Flossie, and Vaisey. The girls find out that this term they will be studying one of Shakespeare’s plays, The Taming of the Shrew. Of course, since they are at Dother Hall and not some more prestigious college, the way the staff approach teaching the girls about the play and its meaning is rather unconventional. To say the least. The girls don’t mind though. They are used to the madness of their teachers, and embrace the strange projects and assignments they are given.

   Being normal teenage girls, all three of them think about boys. A lot. Tallulah is in a real quandary because she has strong feelings for three boys. One of them, Alex, is away at college and has a girlfriend so he is pretty much out of the picture. Charlie goes to a boy’s school nearby and he is good looking and really nice. He also has a girlfriend back home, but he seems to really like Tallulah, which is confusing for her. Then there is Cain, the local bad boy who is very good looking in a dark brooding sort of way, but who treats girls badly. Before the end of last term Cain kissed Tallulah and she has been trying to forget that kiss ever since. No one else knows about it and she wants her lapse in judgment to remain a secret.

   Trying to figure out what to do on the boy front is hard enough, but Tallulah also has to deal with the fact that the drama tutor, Dr. Lightowler seems to hate Tallulah and thinks that she has no talent whatsoever. Then there are the Bottomly sisters who insist that Tallulah is responsible for Beverley Bottomly’s unhappy love life. The sisters are very large and prone to violence and they have threatened Tallulah on several occasions. Tallulah is not sure how she is going to deal with all these problems, and work towards becoming a performing star at the same time.

   Once again Louise Rennison gives her readers a story that is outrageously amusing and entertaining.  She manages to get inside the head of a sweet, funny, and very confused teenage girl, and we get to see how Tallulah finally figures out what she wants.