On the plane back to NYC from Dallas I read E. Lockhart’s latest book, Dramarama. Once I started I couldn’t stop. All Scott got out of me for the next three hours were “Yes, dears”, “uh huhs”, and “laters”. I’m a big E. Lockhart fan. I’ve enjoyed every books she’s written but Dramarama is by far her best. And that’s saying a lot.
It’s about kids who are obsessed with becoming actors/dancers/singers. They’ve all been bitten with the performing bug so hard that it has eaten their brains. They meet at a performing summer camp which is the kind of intense hothouse that brings out the good, the bad and the ugly. There are spats, lots of falling in and out of love and friendship, tears, and heaps of really hard work as they put on multiple shows and learn how to be theatre professionals (or not, as the case may be).
I’ve seen some reviews of this book worry that kids who aren’t into musical theatre won’t find anything for them in Dramarama. I’m not into musical theatre—or theatre for that matter—I have zero interest in Broadway and I adored it.
The book’s protag, Sadye Paulson, is my favourite kind: She doesn’t know herself that well. Sometimes it seems like she doesn’t know herself at all or have any clue how she affects folks around her. She makes mistakes, behaves in ways that make you cringe, but manages to learn from it, and not in a Hallmark ewkie way. I can’t remember the last time I loved a protag this much while also wanting to shake her. Shake her very very hard.
What I love most about E. Lockhart’s work—and there’s a lot to love—is the importance of friendship. It’s always at the core of her books even the ones that seem to be about romance. I’ve said before that friendships are as important as romance. And that friendship has to be at the core of a romantic relationship if it’s going to last longer than ten seconds. Lockhart shows it.
Did I mention that Dramarama is also very funny? Cause it is. Complete with laugh-out-loud sections and everything.
Excuse me while I go read it again. Seriously it’s that good.