Curtis Sittenfeld: Prep

I don’t know where to start. 🙂

Let me start be confessing my shame. I don’t remember the last time I read a contemporary novel set in real life. It seems all I read these days is paranormal fiction, fantasy and historical romance and it seems now I might be missing out on some great books.
I am seriously grateful to Transworld Publishers for hosting this summer challenge and making this book available to me.
First off, let me say that I was wondering through half the book if it is possible that the author was a guy because of the name since the main character Lee Fiora is a girl and the private boarding school experience we follow through the novel is just so well written from the female perspective that I was wondering if a guy could possibly have done it. But no, Curtis is a woman. Which should have been obvious from the way the novel is written.
I was sucked in from the start. And I still don’t know how to describe this book. It is a perfect picture (in my opinion) of what normal girls go through in their high school years (be it a boarding school or normal high school). I found myself in those pages so many times. 🙂 I do wish I knew then what I know now and it seems the author feels the same – there are little windows into the future where she lets us see where some of the situations ended.
At about the third of the book, I became aware of the fact that I don’t know when the story is happening – they have a pay phone in their dormitory and first I thought there were no computers and cell phones. Then it seemed there were some computers around but still no cell phones, so my guess is the high school years here are early 90s. Perhaps.
It doesn’t really matter – because the high school experience seems universal. At least to me. It’s exactly what I would wish every teenage girl would know but the problem is, she probably wouldn’t understand it before getting through the experience and then some time passing for her to take a relatively objective view of the past and realizing how true this book is.
I found myself back in those years reading through all the irrelevant things going through her mind (I know they are quite relevant then but now that’s no longer true), thinking about boys and interacting with them,  insulting her intelligence and everything else about herself (making it seem she is insignificant in the order of things) – I remember all those things. And I’m still working on them, well working against them staying in my life.

Anyway, I would recommend this to anyone who wants to take a look back to their teenage years and enjoy the view while learning something about those years and about yourself.

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