Study Guide

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks Strength and Skill

By E. Lockhart

Strength and Skill

He thought she wasn't voracious. That she didn't go after what she wanted. That she was a girl who left the boardwalk as soon as her mother called her cell. (14.88)

Alpha clearly underestimates Frankie and thinks that she's weak and just a girl. She'll show him. She'll eat all those garlic knots (even if they make her nauseous) because she is voracious. At least in spirit.

The oath was a puzzle. It would tell her where the history was. And none of the current members of the Order seemed to even know it existed. (26.56-57)

Clever Frankie! She's managed to figure out what generations of Basset Hounds have completely missed. What does she have that they don't? What is it that allows Frankie to achieve what so many Basset Hounds couldn't before?

Those younger Bassets had been too dumb to find the history, Frankie guessed. Probably they searched, but without luck. (30.7)

Even if Frankie isn't as physically strong as the boys, she's got quite a head on her shoulders. And she's going to use it to outsmart them. We're betting she'd argue that mental strength is far more important that physical prowess.

It had formed itself in the back of her head while Artie and the boys were talking about their costumes, and waited, poised, to flood itself into her mind the moment they departed. (31.82)

Frankie's always one step ahead. She can deliberate and scheme with the best of them, and this comes in handy when Alpha goes out of town. Here, we can literally see the wheels turning in the great, scheming machine that is her brain. And of course the prank that that machine produces is far cleverer, far more ambitious, and far more kickbutt than any of the pranks the real dogs could have dreamed up.

In the Month of November, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds experienced a surge in activity that surpassed anything they'd accomplished since 1968. (37.1)

It's a little ironic that the best leader the Order's ever had (since 1968 at least) is a girl who is pulling all the strings from a fake email account, isn't it? So much for the macho organization.

Though she was pleased with the conclusions she drew from her reasoning, Frankie wandered around her mother's house in the days after Thanksgiving staring out of windows for long periods of time. (40.9)

Being extremely clever and intelligent doesn't make it any easier when you figure out that your boyfriend's lying to you on the regular. Just because Frankie's got an evil genius brain doesn't mean she's got a cold, hard heart. Betrayals still sting, even if you manage to figure them out on your own terms.

She could command them, outwit them; she could know more of their history than any of them ever would—but they would preserve that secrecy and clubbiness against her even so. (41.9)

Even though Frankie is clearly the superior mind here, she'll always be an outsider because of her gender. And that's really quite a shame because by now she's proven herself equal (and maybe even superior) to the dogs in more ways than one.

Burning and dripping and freezing, Frankie Landau-Banks walked down the hall to her bedroom. (42.23)

Ah, the final proof that Frankie one strong and tough cookie. She's able to withstand extreme pain and discomfort without batting an eyelash. We'd like to see how Matthew would handle this situation—without the Superman shirt, of course.

I'm just writing to say I underestimated you. I significantly underestimated you. (45.28)

At the end of the day, even if Alpha doesn't like Frankie, he admits that she was incredibly skillful in carrying out all those pranks. And that's all she ever wanted—some acknowledgement. Alpha's willingness to recognize Frankie's awesomeness makes us think that he might not be the old boy we thought he was. Just imagine if these two joined forces.

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