Confession: I get a kick out of The Gossip Girl series. Someone handed me the first few a couple of summers ago and, after reading them, I could swear that Blair, Serena, Nat, and the rest were right in front of me as I walked to my Upper East Side school. While I don’t think it is a model for any in the books, some of our students may be (along with their peers in similar NYC private schools) and so I am amused by Von Ziegsar’s over-the-top parody of their lives. When Roger Sutton recently expressed bemusement at Jenny’s “perky” rubber boots (in the spin-off It Girl series), I had to clue him in that they have been hot items for years in that neighborhood.
For those who fear these books are a terrible influence, I can at least reassure you that my now-16-year-old niece and her friends from suburban Boston are safe. Such girls are nowhere to be found in the books; they are good girls without money who are mainly into theater, but still get a kick out of the books just as I do. These girls and the general readership of these books are, I’m confident, savvy enough to know what is what.
And savvy indeed seems to be Kay S. Hymowitz as she takes on the real Gossip Girl, Paris Hilton in her City Journal article, “The Trash Princess.” An astute consideration of the attraction of Paris and of Paris herself (who seems more Serena all the time).