Alex is a rebel with a purple fauxhawk and biker boots.
St Mary’s Catholic School is a strict boarding school where she’s currently trapped.
Despite trying everything she can to get expelled, she’s still stuck with the nuns, the prudish attitude and the sexism.
Fed up with life inside the hallowed halls of St. Mary’s, Alex decides to take matters into her own hands. She’s going to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues.
Which may be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud…
Goodreads’ Rating: ☀️☀️☀️☀️
Bad Habits is a brash and boisterous look at feminism in a Catholic boarding school, and it will keep you laughing long after you close it for the final time.
What I Liked
The story is funny on the surface, but underneath there’s a potentially tragic story in the making, both masked and reflected by Alex’s rebelliousness and witty cynicism. Alex’s dad enrolled her in the school he went to after he and her mother divorced. It’s never stated, but the situation sounds like her dad was trying to remove her from a volatile transition period at home and find the best place he knew for her to have a happy and stable high school experience. Alex, of course, didn’t see it that way. She just wanted to be home in the comfort of everything familiar. She is hiding her pain, and, as pain will, it’s coming out regardless.
I enjoyed that the story is based on events from the author’s experiences at Notre Dame University. This gave it an air of authenticity that it usually wouldn’t have. I’ve never attended a catholic school, but now I feel like I have a good idea of what it is like.
The feminist theme of being comfortable in your skin and not afraid to own your needs, body parts, and beliefs is refreshing and bold. I know I still feel uncomfortable buying certain feminine products even though I shouldn’t. And the same with all sorts of unspoken taboos, which are not taboos but a socially created discomfort with all the is natural and normal.
I also enjoyed the development of the theme of belonging and the security and acceptance that goes along with that feeling. Alex, Mary, Kate, and even Katie were all looking for that and not finding it. As the story explores these three very different journeys, it takes on a new depth and unexpected poignancy.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a laugh out loud and bold look at what it means to be a teenager today, this story will give you that and more.
Flynn Meaney is the author of The Boy Recession and Bloodthirsty. She studied marketing and French at the University of Notre Dame, where she barely survived the terrifying array of priests and nuns, campus ghosts, and bone-crushing athletes who inspired Bad Habits. Since completing a very practical MFA in Poetry, she works for a French company and travels often between New York (when she’s in the mood for bagels) and Paris (when she’s in the mood for croissants).