The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
"Based on a true story."
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a zillion times—but how many of those zillion times is that true story about a bunch of girls sharing a pair of jeans?
Yeah, we didn't think so.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001) is a book about four best friends who are separated for the summer, and, worried about being apart, form an exclusive club based around—yep—a favorite pair of pants.
Every club has rules, and here are a few that the Sisterhood agrees upon: each girl must wear the Pants, write a special memory in the Pants, and then pass them along. The point? If they can't be there for each other physically, the Pants will be there instead, helping them stay in touch as they adventure all over the place.
Brashares's first piece of fiction was a hit right out of the gate—The Sisterhood put her on the map as a writer. The Sisterhood does for 21st century teens what Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye did for them in the 1950s—it gives them a voice.
A New York Times bestseller, The Sisterhood was so wildly successful that readers wanted not one, not two, but three more novels (four, if you count the very last novel that takes place ten years later). But if you still want more after you've read the entire series, 3 Willows (2009) is a Sisterhood spin-off.
Yup—people just can't seem to get enough of this stuff.
Why Should I Care?
We're not perfect.
There. We said it.
But society tells us we should be, and to continue our confessional, sometimes we get pretty sick of it. Wouldn't it be nice to look at magazine, watch a movie, or read a book without feeling pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations? We sure think so.
And that's part of what's so great about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants—the characters seem like real people, imperfections and all. We're talking big butts, flaring tempers, moodiness, and more, and as the girls in this book make some really stupid mistakes, it's pretty refreshing to read about such human characters.
Plus, no matter how hard things get for the girls, the Pants are always there to remind them that there are people out there in the world who love them, just the way they are. Cheesy? Yes. But we're okay with it. This is a story about how human we all are, about the fact that everyone's got some ugly bits to them—and that this doesn't make them unlovable.
So put on your most favorite pair of jeans, Shmoopsters, and get ready to feel good.