Alyssa Brugman's debut novel in the United States, WALKING NAKED, is an extremely powerful piece of literature. Brugman accurately and horrifically portrays the high school scene and the peer pressure that is faced while in high school.
The protagonist, Megan Tuw, has always been part of the in-crowd. This popularity gives Megan a sense of security and sometimes gets her into trouble, as is the case when she is kicked out of a class for talking. Megan's attitude earns her detention, where she spends time with "the freak" of the high school, Perdita. Megan realizes, through the writing assignments that they are required to do while in detention, that Perdita is an intelligent and complex person. She begins to spend time with Perdita, keeping these outings a secret from her friends. Megan knows that the in-crowd would ruin her status as a popular figure if they knew that she was becoming friends with "the freak."
At some point within the novel, Megan is faced with a difficult choice: Perdita or her popular crowd. Brugman realistically portrays the turmoil that Megan goes through --- her fears of losing popularity and hurting her friends, her jealousy of being replaced, her feelings of inferiority when spending time with the more intelligent and knowledgeable Perdita, and struggling to figure out how to be true to herself.
Readers of WALKING NAKED will be able to relate to the pressures of being popular and of needing to have the right clothes, the right friends and the right looks. The characters here talk and behave as real-life high school students would. While disturbing, this is an important book that should be read by a majority of teenagers.
Reviewed by Melissa Palmer on March 9, 2004
- Publication Date: March 9, 2004
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
- ISBN-10: 0385731159
- ISBN-13: 9780385731157