Alright, so I know I can usually be quite horrible with the whole “read the book before the movie” thing. But this time, I promise, I did it right. This time, I actually caved and read The DUFF before I watched the movie. And I’m not really sure if it was the best decision or the worst. This will be a two-part post, and the second part will be coming out next week. In that post, I’ll be chatting about my thoughts on the movie version of the book, but let’s be real, we’re all book-over-movie people here, huh?
As a sidenote, The DUFF does contain adult material, as I will lightly touch on in my review. Also, beware of spoilers!
Let’s start with the book, as it’ll keep me sane for a while longer before moving on to the film. For one, I absolutely LOVED the book. I think I say this for every good book I read, but it’s definitely one of my favorites ever. The writing is so witty, the plot is (kind of) unique, and in the ways that its unoriginal, it draws you in with the amazing characters painted in the story.
Basically, DUFF is the tale of Bianca Piper, best friend to Jess and Casey, both of whom are gorgeous in Bianca’s eyes. Unfortunately, Bianca finds out from school boy-tramp Wesley Rush, that she is in fact the DUFF of their friend group, Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Bianca is absolutely horrified but somehow throughout her night she ends up kissing Wesley in a cherry-coke fueled stupor.
And so begins the hookup affair of Bianca and Wesley.
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER
Between dealing with her absentee mother, her nearly-alcoholic father, her back-in-town ex-boyfriend, and the fact that she’s considered the black sheep of her friends to make them look better, Bianca falls into an addiction of sex with one Wesley Rush. He’s a complete jerk and she just loves to torment him bitterly, but she finds that the sex helps her to run away from the reality of her life, which is a recurring theme of the book. Bianca’s spitfire attitude mixed with Wesley’s a-hole tendencies lead to months of a hidden affair to escape the world’s problems. Both of them understood that this was entirely physical and there was no romantic attraction whatsoever. But when Bianca is finally noticed by Toby, her eon-long crush, she finds that she’s torn between the perfectly perfect geek and the passionate interactions with Wesley.
To make things even worse, Bianca unwillingly begins to open up to Wesley, and he does the same. His judgmental grandmother is able to get her talons into Bianca’s neck and Wesley is the first to defend her. Bianca’s father goes on a binger and becomes physical, causing Wesley to knock him out. Suddenly, the two of them find that for a DUFF and a jock, they aren’t so different.
I know, I know, it all sounds very John Hughes/She’s All That/icky teen romance, but it gets so much better, I promise.
After a night together that seems to change everything between them, Bianca cuts it off cold turkey. Bianca ends up dating Toby for a while and as wonderful as he is, she can’t help but find that she’s comfortable. He always treats her like a lady and she always wants to impress him, but she doesn’t feel that fire of passion she feels when she’s with Wesley. So, after Bianca receives a PDA from Wesley in the form of a rose bouquet and love letter saying he’s giving up his skirt-tailing days, Bianca has a heart-to-heart with Toby and the dude pulls a Lon from The Notebook and tells her to go follow her heart.
In the middle of all of this, Bianca begins to have a revelation brought on by “school whore” Vikki, who has a pregnancy scare and is judged by the whole school. Bianca realizes that calling someone “tramp” or “slut” really isn’t any different than her being called “DUFF”. It’s judging someone for the way they live their life or the way they look or the way they dress, and it’s not your place.
In the end, Bianca and Wesley run off together into the sunset (really, did you expect anything else?) but the real beauty is the message that this book sends. And what is that message?
STOP HATING ON OTHER GIRLS.
So what if someone wants to date a ton of people? So what if someone wants to not have sex until marriage? So what if someone is bigger, or skinnier, or whiter, or darker, or whatever! Live your life. It takes so much more energy to focus on how other people are living their lives (let me repeat: THEIR LIVES, NOT YOURS) and try to make it about you.
So the next time you see a girl walking down the street in a tiny mini-skirt or a girl with huge thighs and a stomach strutting her stuff in a crop-top and shorts, or a curvy chick rocking a big old sweatshirt and yoga pants, you know what your first thought should be?
“They’re pretty darn cool.”
So what are your guys’ thoughts? Have you read The Duff? Do you agree with some of the ideas the book helps bring to light? If you don’t agree with me (or if you do), that’s awesome, and I’d love to hear about it! Drop me a comment or send me a message and I’ll see you guys next Tuesday!