Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pink Julep Reads: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

I have heard about Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld for years, but while living in Cayman, I could never find it, so the first book I read by this author was American Wife, which I didn't really enjoy. I didn't even finish it to be honest. Prep on the other hand, while having a slow start, is a much better and more interesting book in my opinion and perhaps the subject has something to do with that.
We all remember what high school was like. It's a tough time in everyone's life, no matter how fun it is. But imagine leaving your family and friends behind to attend a boarding school miles away from everything you've ever known and submerging yourself into a world where you are new and everyone else has known each other for years.
Thus is the story of Lee, a 14 year old girl from Indiana who applies to prep school outside Boston. She is accepted and though her parents are not thrilled with the idea, because she is a scholarship student, they allow her to go. Lee is a smart girl and a very good student, but slightly introverted at best. Unlike many of us who would make an effort to do whatever it takes to fit in, Lee takes a different approach and basically tries to make herself invisable. No attention to her is better than bad attention. She quickly, from day 1 begins to see everything about her that is different from the other people in her school. She is not only different academically or socially, but she also doesn't have a floral comforter, which apparently distinguishes the haves from the have nots.
Prep is written from the point of view of Lee as an adult, so this is not a children's book. I think it's brilliantly written and a very good story about knowing one's place in the world and finding where you belong. It also gives a very good account of what a boarding school is like for anyone who didn't attend one. I always wanted to go to boarding school as a kid, but after reading this book, I'm kind of glad my parents said no.
I have to say, American Wife wasn't really my cup of tea, but I am definitely looking forward to reading future works by Curtis Sittenfeld!
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  1. This book has been sitting on my shelf since I read American Wife (didn't love that book either). I might have to give it a try this weekend.

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