Review Blog

May 18 2010

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

cover image

Penguin, 2010.
This is a story about the synergy created by bringing people together for a common purpose. Eventually the activities and energy of the girls in the 'lonely hearts club' at a North American high school is even found threatening by the principal as well as the boys at the school.
Penny Lane, named by her Beatle mad parents, is the narrator of this story. The front cover of the book is even a spoof of the famous Abbey Road album. Penny is betrayed by her long term boyfriend Nate. 'I found out the hard way that fairy tales and true love don't exist'. She decided to form a lonely hearts club, with just herself until her friend Diane, recently dumped by the school heart throb Ryan insists on joining her club too. Ryan was the 'biggest cliche at our school: a star athlete with good grades who just happened to also be gorgeous' (pg29)
The club grows in numbers and enthusiasm. They meet every Saturday night at Penny's home with the support and encouragement of Penny's parents. They go as a group to the school dance and the school prom, rather than with dates. They attend basketball games together, upstaging the official cheerleaders. They also develop rules which include 'no dating'.
Meanwhile school heart throb Ryan, is patiently waiting at his locker, located close to Penny's, to talk to Penny. Penny's confusion about her feelings towards Ryan continues to grow through the novel. Finally all is resolved and the club rules are changed to allow dating, along as it does not undermine the girls' friendship and support of each other and Ryan and Penny are able to organise a date together.
Teenage girls giving priority to their boyfriends is a topic that will be relevant in many teenagers' lives. This is a story about how one North American teenager found unexpected support from her female friends through organising a club of 'lonely hearts' and motivated them to support each other and how threatening this was to the male powerbrokers in the school.
This is a story about the power of the group, standing up for yourself and the eternal themes of friendship, trust and loyalty.
This is very light and easy read.
Jenny Brisbane

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