Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us
Tanya Lee Stone
2010; Penguin; ISBN 978-0-670-01187-2 (hardcover)

Summary: She's been a heroine, a role model, and perennial career-hopper.  She's also been a villian, a target, and a symbol of all that's wrong with society's treatment of females.  Funny how a 11 3/4 inch tall doll can be all that.  Yet in the fifty years since the introduction of the Barbie doll, that's what this toy has been.  For decades, little girls have wanted to play with Barbie.  But is playing with Barbies harmful?  The history and impact of the Barbie doll is full of depth and contrary opinions.

Tanya Lee Stone, author of the YALSA Nonfiction Award finalist Almost Astronauts, looks at another extraordinary female in her latest book.  Whether you think Barbie is a harmless toy or a symbol of evil, Stone takes an even-handed approach to her subject.  She lays out the criticism against Barbie while also presenting the praise for this remarkable doll.  Considering such varied topics as the creation of Barbie, ethnic Barbies, and even why we're always taking her clothes off, this book is a loving yet just examination of the Barbie doll.  Bound to provoke nostalgia and discussion, The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie would be an excellent choice for mother-daughter book clubs.

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