Monday, October 01, 2012
Book Review: Prep: A Novel
Prep: A Novel
Middle-class Indianan Lee Fiora gets a scholarship to the elite college prep Ault School in Massachusetts. In her four years there she leaves behind her friends, family, Midwestern character, class, values, naiveté, isolation and virginity. Lee isn’t a traditional protagonist. You pull for her but with reservations. She is self-defeating, shallow, blasé, an indifferent student (although her academic mediocrity beats anything I accomplished in high school hands down). Why do you relentlessly follow Lee, root for her?
Her new world is one of girls with first names like Hunter and Horton, lacrosse, sailboats, vanilla milkshakes, “flattened” personalities, pearl necklaces, mothers called Tinkle and Yum, salsa that is “like, ketchup with onions in it” and students who believe they’re beyond racism. The school crest is printed on a set of highball glasses available in the school store. In short, an ultra-WASP redoubt. A school where “being rich, in the end, counted for the most.”
Soon Lee finds she neither fits into this world or her old home in South Bend, Indiana.
It is this, more than anything, that makes you sympathize with her, because it’s the essence of the human predicament to not fit into this world-and to believe (at least in adolescence) that everybody else does.
Sittenfeld keeps you absorbed. Prep is addictive. It’s fascinating to see Lee go through roommate trauma, class snobbery landmines, boyfriend disasters and the long struggle to form a self that makes some kind of sense. The writing is almost totally without pretense. It snags you and won’t give you up. You don’t want to wander away from it, or wonder why Sittenfeld does this or that. It’s honed.
It can be a good thing going through adolescence again, this time at a blessed remove. Fiction, or fiction as good as this, makes it bearable, enjoyable, something you can actually handle.
By Tressa at October 01, 2012
Being puzzled may not be a good thing, but in this instance it may be. I live with a self-described “puzzlephile,” who enjoys puzzles on the...
Most of us are aware of the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued on January 1, 1863, but probably fewer realize that a preliminary ...
by Jim Murray, Business, Science and Technology Department Representatives from Miles College will be presenting informational sessions ...
Three of my absolute favorite television shows are based on books. When it comes to movies, I have found that reading the book first ten...
by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library On any given day at the Ensley Branch Library, we interact with patrons in a way that goes...