The Bad Project
The Bad Project is about a Chinese girl, Marianne, who had always been expected to be good. Then she went to college, and decided the time to be the good girl was over. She devises "the Bad Project" to experiment with what it would be like to be bad. She recruits her new roommate, Crystal,, to be her "project adviser:" Crystal is less than enthusiastic, but becomes a friend who feels compelled to be supportive. The idea of the book appealed to me because as a teen I was expected to be "the good boy", and it took me a while to find who I really wanted to be. I also related it to the TV show "The Gilmore Girls" (which my family is currently watching on Netflix), where the young Asian teen, Lane (in this case, Korean) also seeks to rebel against being good. I think many young women will identify with the idea behind this book, and might want to read it for that reason.
Read the story now
I do not, however, feel the author did a particularly good job of pulling the story off. Character and plot development are both very slow, her descriptive ability is mediocre, and her characters are often shallowly drawn. In addition, I believe the author often violates one of the most often quoted rules of writing fiction - "show; don't tell." Much of the book is taken up in conversation about action, instead of action or gripping interaction between characters. The dialogue often feels artificial. In addition, the manuscript shows need of editing -- often repeated words, misplaced commas, omitted words, etc. (there are also a number of formatting errors, but I partly understand that,having taken about 6 hours to fix formatting errors derived from downloading my own manuscript to the site.)
The writing did seem to improve around Chapter 24. I appreciated her wrestling with difficult issues like post-traumatic reaction to rape, and pondering abortion. She also appropriately shows that a young girl's first sexual experience can be much less than often-romanticized portrayals. I appreciated her efforts to bring in the relevance of religious faith to talking about the moral struggles of college students.
One caveat to this review should be admitted: this book is written for college girls, and I am an older male. So, if anyone would like to take the review "with a grain of salt" therein lies the opportunity.