Okay, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has always been one of my favorite series. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Sappy as it is, the books (and movies) have a good message. One of the four teenage girls, a “fairy tale” blonde-haired beauty named Bridget, has a mother who committed suicide sometime prior to the beginning of the first book. She never allows herself to properly mourn her mother’s death, choosing instead to run away from her funeral (as shown in the first three minutes of the movie) and act as if there’s nothing wrong (when asked if she’s okay, she replies, “Yeah, I will be as soon as I get out of these stupid heels. Hold ’em for me, will ya? Think I’ll run home!”). So when Bee arrives at soccer camp in New Mexico four years later, she falls head over heels in deep attraction/lust to one of the older soccer coaches. Though I’m not sure how old he actually is (in the book he’s nineteen, and in the movie he goes to Columbia and is old enough to drink at the bar), I thought their back-and-forth relationship was entertaining and sweet.
Bee is an incredible soccer player. Like, good enough to make the other girls on the team fall to their knees in a breathless chant: “We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy!” (I’m not kidding.) So hot soccer coach watches her from a side-eye view, trying and failing to ignore her. Later that day on the beach, she approaches him and begins to flirt once again. He tells her that she scares the hell out of him with her intensity. Bee replies, “Single-minded to the point of recklessness. It’s what the school shrink said about me after my mom died.”
Well, this isn’t hard to see. Bee lies about her age, flips her long blonde hair around Eric to grab his attention, and dresses in a provocative manner, even showing up at a bar party after overhearing that he would be there. She tells her friend Lena in a letter that she’s “obsessed,” and that she cannot be held responsible for her actions. Though soccer coach guy tries repeatedly to resist her charm, he eventually falls for it, and they end up hooking up on the beach.
Then comes the crash. After she loses her virginity, Bridget falls apart. She goes into somewhat of an existential crisis missing her mother and gives up on playing soccer for the rest of summer. It’s obvious to everyone, coach included, that something is seriously wrong with her. An alternate theory suggests the Bee has bipolar disorder, which would explain her manic intensity and shameless self-confidence – and the later crash into crippling depression. The second book highlights this point further, as Bee gains weight, quits soccer, and dyes her beloved miles-long sunshine blonde hair an ashy brown color. In the movie, after her encounter with Eric she sends a letter to Lena, who contacts Tibby and Carmen to help her. When they arrive, she finally breaks down over her mother after recalling a memory of making pizza with her.
The second book in this series is one of my favorites. After Bridget disguises her hair under brown dye and her body under lack of care, she travels to Alabama to see her grandmother under a faux-name and offers to clean up her house. Her grandmother pretends that she doesn’t realize who it is and accepts the offer. Bee uses this facade to find out more about her mother, who is said to have been a popular, beautiful debutante from southern Alabama in her twenties. However, her mother at a point had been sent to a psychiatric facility and “diagnosed with a mental disease and prescribed a medication called lithium” (alluding entirely to bipolar disorder, even more so when Bee’s grandmother describes her as “real moody–high as a kite one day, couldn’t get out of bed the next”). It makes sense that Bee would have inherited this disorder from her mother.
It is implied that she spends most of her time in a manic state, and in Mexico with no one who understood how serious her condition was to stop her, she went a little crazy.
Bee is my favorite character in this series (partly because I love Blake Lively in the movies), and one that I relate to a lot. I fit single-minded to the point of recklessness as well as chasing a guy just because you’re in the middle of a manic episode, and the consequent crash that comes after. I recommend this movie/book series to everyone–it’s more than a chick flick, I promise.