The Fashion Committee, by Susan Juby
The Fashion Committee is a companion to The Truth Commission. It’s a companion in the usual, obvious way, in that it’s centered in and around the same place, and references characters and action from it. But, less obviously, it also deals with, complements, and parallels the same themes of the first book. It’s very much about the masks that we wear in dealing with different situations; about wearing different faces for different people; and, because of the fashion theme, it’s about how clothing choices and design can speak volumes, can be political.
In The Truth Commission, we saw Green Pastures as a vibrant school full of passionate students who had access to anything and everything they wanted or needed in order to pursue their goals and create their art. In The Fashion Committee, we see Green Pastures as a school for students who are economically privileged—out-of-reach for young artists like Charlie and John. And so, in a way that never feels didactic or preachy, it deals with how poverty and income inequality pertains to and affects education. It’s not just a matter of better facilities—though that’s true, too, in that Green Pastures has everything, while the public school that Charlie and John attend is in the midst of cutting program after program after program—it’s a matter of access to opportunities.