If you know me you know that I am eternally the fan of the girl power book/movie. Being a tomboy growing up I am always a fan of girls who unabashedly kick butt. I had some pretty high hopes for Whip It! and I was so excited to see one of my favorite sports being featured in a movie with an all star cast! I excitedly went out and read the book Derby Girl by Shauna Cross (recently retitled Whip It, the inspiration for the movie) .
Both the book and the move follow Bliss Cavendar (indie punk girl) growing up in the small conservative town of Bodeen, Texas. Bliss' mother is obsessed with beauty pageants and is convinced that Bliss is the next Miss Bluebonnet, despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary. One day, shopping in Austin, Bliss hears about roller derby and convinces her best (and only) friend Pash to attend a bout with her. One look and Bliss is in love with the sport, she decides to try out and makes it on to a team called the Hurl Scouts (after lying about her age). Between practices, Bliss falls in love with rocker Oliver, lies to her parents about taking an SAT practice to cover up her frequent absences, and manages to forget almost entirely about her best friend, Pash.
This doesn't even cover the mayhem and competition on the track. The book was full of witty commentary, Bliss and Pash both make fun of almost everything in Bodeen which includes but is not limited to: their place of work (a BBQ restaurant called the Oink Joint), the popular kids at school, Bliss's parents, Pash's parents, jocks, and anything else mainstream. A lot of this great commentary is lost in the movie, which is too bad because Bliss has a cutting wit when it comes to insults. The Bliss of the book is also a funny, mean, sarcastic, tough chick. The movie portrays her more as quiet, nervous girl who is very unsure of herself.
Finally, and probably the greatest disappointment was Oliver.In the book, Bliss frequently refers to him as Senor Smolder, but in the movie he fizzles out. I won't give away any of the details but I really wish he would have been more mysterious; I hate to admit this but he could take a lesson or two from Robert Pattinson on that front.
The one thing I can't figure out is how the book and the movie differ so majorly on characters and plot when they were written by the same person (Shauna Cross adapted her own book for the silver screen). The derby also looses out in all of this. Although it is not that well described in the book or well portrayed in the movie, derby is a totally awesome sport. For those of you who read the book or see the movie and fall in love with the sport the way Bliss does you should check out your local flat track derby league: The Kansas City Roller Warriors!