Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, 2005
Published by Random House (US) and Picador (UK)
This book is spot on in the portrayal of the awkwardness and painful selfconsciousness of adolescence. The adult voice of the narrator speaks to the intense examination of self and each other in the cloistered atmosphere of boarding school but I think it is true in most high schools. Never again in your life is how important each day is in your image, your self worth, or the impression you make on others. It really made me remember those (terrifying really) days of questioning what to wear, how to have your hair, how to walk, geez – it seemed so important, and the slightest deviation from the expected would be devastating -so it seemed. It was like the biggest interview of your life happened every day and would effect the outcome of your life. The drama, the fears, I’d forgotten how self involved we can be. That said I had a hard time liking the main character, Lee Fiori, just because she is so self involved and didn’t seem to understand things even in remembering them as the narrator. She pretty much accepts the sexual assault by a fellow student she has a crush on and the continuing “visits” to her bed by the same guy. She blames others where the blame is hers and blames herself for being victimized. I don’t ever get the feeling that she actually grew up. I enjoyed the book but because I’d read some of the reviews I was expecting The Catcher in the Rye and so I was somewhat disappointed.
See also the Washington Post review