I loathed this book, really really hated it I kept reading, hoping for the moment when the narrator would stop complaining, stop blaming everyone else for her misery, but the moment never came She finished high school, went on with her life, and yet KEPT COMPLAINING about boarding school It is easy to take pot shots at New England boarding schools, and at high school in general, but this book lacks any humor and the narrator lacks any self awareness I don t know that I would have liked this book if I had read it during high school because the author, who comes of as fairly self righteous in interviews, denies that this book is meant for young adults or chick lit readers You d be better served reading an unhappy teenager s blog.
Let me first admit that Prep was far from perfect I m not sure I could argue against many of the bad reviews At times, I longed for the novel to hurry along The foreshadowing was clunky Occasionally I was so bored I wasn t sure I could get through the entire novel.
And then heavy sigh , Sittenfeld did what I hadn t imagined anyone could do She made me relive the most painful experiences of high school with such honesty that it was hard to believe that she wrote the book as an adult I was astonished that she was able to remember exactly how many of these situations felt with such vividness and sincerity Suddenly, with crushing intensity, I remembered how maddeningly frustrated I would become with my parents, how ill at ease I would feel in the presence of a beautiful, popular girl, or how devastated I was over bad crush The magic of Prep is that none of this ever becomes a clich Sittenfeld doesn t reduce the experiences or simplify them, the way most shows, novels, and movies about high school do She doesn t take the abilities and desires of an adult and try to stuff them into teenage bodies Sittenfeld is able to portray that inconsequential events have the weight of lead during adolescence And, most amazingly, Sittenfeld does this without trying to make everything better to make the protagonist self aware or to balm over her misery.
Rating the book with five stars is not a recommendation The book made me feel awful I cringed in discomfort, I felt humiliated over events I hadn t thought of in years, I had nightmares about high school boyfriends.
But my heart raced when Lee felt a victory, and my stomach dropped when she experienced a defeat How often, as a reader, can one truly say that they understood exactly how something felt I feel embarrassed even saying this, but I felt that I had to give Prep five stars because, to not do so, I would be denying that it affected me in a meaningful way.
This book makes me want to shout at its critics, you don t have to identify with the protagonist to like the book identification isn t the only reason to read But then I want to defend it precisely because it seems so real I.
, I identify with it Now I say defend because the book is marketed as chick lit I don t care how much reputable praise you list on the back cover when there s a pink and green belt cinching your book, you re chick lit , and I was embarrassed to brandish it on the El But brandish it I did, because it s an intense, elaborately insightful, and imaginatively structured novel Which is why I think identification might be beside the point if you like Lee, if you don t like Lee if you recognize your school in hers or you don t it s still a visceral and whole picture of something, and it feels whole because it isn t a neat linear trajectory from insecure to secure, insular to worldly, and no boyfriend to perfect boyfriend It s whole because it may not feel like your life, but it feels like someone s, and that someone is intermittently hilarious and almost always incisive And here s where I get all hypocritical, I know I m basing my praise on the very thing I m saying shouldn t matter I identify with the narrator s descriptions of certain relationships or social moments, so I call her incisive Hoist away For the record, though, I recommend spreading it out across several sittings rather than reading it in one big lump otherwise you can a become inure to the emotional swings and b you might miss a would be favorite line.
Worst book I ve read in recent memory It inspires in me a feeling I imagine to be familiar to those who have ever seized a pitchfork or a flaming torch and set off to terrorize a neighbor I ve never read anything with a loathesome, spineless, vacuous, sad sack main character Every single time EVERY SINGLE TIME Lee is on the precipice of learning something or connecting to someone or growing as a human being in any conceivable way, she slumps her shoulders and sabotages herself, and we re back to square one This is done without the slightest self awareness, either on her part or the writer s, which makes her an infuriating protagonist The book is supposedly narrated by Lee later in her life as she looks back at her Prep school days, but there s no perspective on her stupidity or sense that she has developed as a personality or matured in any way in the intervening years Also, the girl thinks about literally nothing but herself and what she imagines people think of her She has no interests, no hobbies, no ideals, no goals I ll hand it to Curtis Sittenfeld for creating a believable universe in the Prep school setting, but her main character is not a three dimensional human being I mean, dude, lots of us have been depressed and self isolating as teenagers, but we had something we connected to, be it music movies nature sports fashion magazines video games model cars long walks our dog SOMETHING It made no sense for such an emotionally sensitive and insightful character and really, she was she had a lot of potential to have no interests whatsoever beyond her own popularity also thwarted by her utter lack of social skills It s like Sittenfeld just plain forgot to add that dimension to her character, much like the time in 11th grade Child Development class I forgot to record bath times in my egg baby journal And look, I know there are plenty of books with unlikeable protagonists, but they usually have interesting personalities or are, you know, active Scarlett O Hara would be a terribly unpleasant person to know personally, but she s a great protagonist because she has ambitions and she gets shit done She drives her story, even if you don t care for how she does it Lee does nothing, cares about nothing, and gives us no incentive to follow her worthless life for 500 or whatever pages I only finished the book because I promised my roommate I would And the thing is, Sittenfeld can write Her prose is elegant and tight, her supporting characters are believable, her dialogue is realistic, and her world building is awesome Of course, I believe the Prep school is based heavily on the school Sittenfeld attended herself, but its descriptions are full of little quirks and in jokes that ring very true to what high school dynamics are like The problem is Lee Fiora since she is so ridiculously solipsistic, the bulk of the book takes place in her head, and her head has all the appeal of a flooded basement.
Also I read this three years ago and still get flushed with anger whenever I think about it I saw the book in my read list and realized I hadn t vented my spleen adequately with my original two sentence review, and if I read it again uhhh.
NO , I d have even to add Heinous book.
Yes, I loved Prepshoot me I always wanted to go to boarding school I, in fact, used to fantasize about it on frequent basis My parents would threaten me with sending me to boarding school when I didn t tow the line and I was always like, yes, please I should have known better NEVER show enthusiasm for the punishment a life lesson that I should have picked up from Brer Rabbit Well, unfortunately, I never got to go to Prep school, but I still like to fantasize about it from time to time, and this book certainly fit the bill Teen angst is nothing if not entertaining As Stephen King said,If you liked being a teenager, there s something really wrong with youTotally.
This was a huge disappointment to me The only other book I have read by this author is Eligible A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice and I enjoyed that one so much I thought I was in for another treat Sadly it was not to be.
Although the writing was beautiful and the recounting of life in a boarding school was probably fairly accurate, the main character was seriously unlikeable And boring And pathetic And I could go on but I won t The story was totally lacking in any direction or action and I nearly gave up at least twice I ploughed on hoping that Lee would develop a back bone and benefit in some way from her experiences but she did neither of those things So this author has given me one five star read and one two star and that is generous Of course I will still read her books but with less confidence next time 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 AmbitionLee 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 S 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 ShatteredUltimately, 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 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 From The Hardcover Edition Two stars is way to generousI read the entire book Okay, so I might have skipped huge chunks of it but I read it The book is about a girl that goes to a boarding school, she is shy and quite boring , the book summary explains it i did not pick up this book because I wanted to read about 4 years of being stuck in a boarding school, that she applied to But changed her mind I thought it was going to be about a girl who climbs her way up the social ladder, makes lot s of friends, generally has a good experience and maybe meets a guy Boy was I wrong The main character grew in almost no way She was winey and spent most of the book complaining about her life, which after the first 100 pages got really annoying I was mentally screaming at her to go talk to someone, which she obviously could, as the author shows in small snippets Oh and she also worships a total dick Not even good supporting characters Overall, I really don t think this book is worth reading It left me unsatisfied, and it wasted an entire saturday So, just don t bother.
Lee Fiora is an average, middle class girl who feels like she is meant for far greater things than her Indiana hometown Convincing herself that trading her Midwest family in for a fancy East Coast Prep school is the answer, Lee becomes a scholarship student at the wealthy and prestigious Ault School, where she quickly learns that gaining admission isn t the same as gaining acceptance Prep chronicles Lee s four years at Ault, starting out as an insecure and lonely freshmen, leaving as a love sick and angst ridden senior, and reminding us just how very important all this felt at the time.
Coming of age stories are hard Being a teenager is so awkward, clunky, and uncertain, and it s difficult for any adult to write truthfully about that period without being tempted to go back and make revisions, creating a protagonist who s wittier, cooler, or dangerous than most of us ever really were So when I finally picked up Prep a book that was something of a critical darling when it was released and touted as a female version of The Catcher in the Rye it was with strong feelings of reservation that I began After all, I had been burned many times before by the coming of age novel, and female authors tend to be the worst offenders for some reason So, imagine my delight when Prep turned out to be everything it was lauded to be a smart, honest, insightful, and often embarrassing trip back to one s formative years that doesn t make apologies or unnecessary revisions It was far from perfect, often painful, and at 449 pages sometimes felt a bit long, but these criticisms were easy for me to overlook seeing as I ve never related to any fictional character the way I related to Lee Fiora Apart from the boarding school element, reading her story was like revisiting my own high school years, complete with all the heartbreak, angst, and feelings of self doubt that it entailed Lee s decisions are often questionable, her insecurities difficult to reason, and she can often be downright unlikeable, but if we re being honest with ourselves weren t we all Aren t some of us still With Prep, Sittenfeld nailed what it s really like to be a teenager or at least what it was really like for me and in so doing restored my faith in the genre No small feat, that.