Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review of Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Synopsis: "Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut novel, Prep, is an insightful, achingly funny coming-of-age story as well as a brilliant dissection of class, race, and gender in a hothouse of adolescent angst and ambition.

Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school’s glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.

As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of–and, ultimately, a participant in–their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she’s a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered.

Ultimately, Lee’s experiences–complicated relationships with teachers; intense friendships with other girls; an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush; conflicts with her parents, from whom Lee feels increasingly distant, coalesce into a singular portrait of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all."

My Review: I picked up this book because Curtis was coming to a local book event and I wanted to be at least familiar with one of her books. This was a much longer book than I was expecting and the pacing was extremely slow. It did have some really good moments but for the most part it was just too slow for me. I enjoyed the Assassin chapter, it sounded really fun. I really did think that I would find a little bit of connection with this story moving from small town out west/mid-west to the east coast, and while some of Lee's observations were the same, the way they were presented fell a little flat. It is clear to me that Lee developed some social anxiety issues but it was never really acknowledged or resolved throughout the book. Anyway, this book would appeal more to lovers of contemporary, for a person who prefers fantasy and only dabbles in contemporary a little it just didn't capture me.
My Rating: This was such a dull book for me, it was long and very slow paced.  There are some interesting observations and interactions between characters but there really isn't a lot that happens or that moves the plot along other than the passage of time itself.  I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.


  1. Ugh! Sounds way too long and boring. Thanks for the warning.

    1. I guess I am just more used to fantasy stories that have a goal in mind and the plot line has some movement. There didn't really seem to be a point to this one other than observation.