Michael's Reviews > Cum Laude

Cum Laude by Cecily von Ziegesar
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F_50x66
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Jun 14, 10


I heard the Gossip Girl creator wrote an adult novel... I heard wrong. The book's laughably bad. It's inexplicably set in the early 90's, which makes Von Whatever look like she's trying to imitate Prep or The Secret History (far superior books about schools set in New England and adjustment thereto), but there are only enough period details to make it seem stale (Juicyfruit gum! Bill Clinton!), rather than an actual depiction of 1992. VZ took the most annoying characters from Gossip Girl-- let's call them rich boy that takes too many drugs, blonde rich girl that every (literally every) male character is in love with despite her utter lack of personality, crunchy boy that hates rich boy and is inexplicably hung up on blonde girl, normal boy that does the same, "ugly" and abrasive brunette girl that tries to compete with teh blonde for one boy's attention, and curvy little sister that is annoyingly all up in everyone's business. So Nate, Serena, Dan 1, Dan 2, Vanessa, and Jenny the characters are affected by the tepid torments of un upper class upbringing, and VZ lazily gives the elements of teenage angst (ahhhh, a parent got a boyfriend! Divorce! PRIVATE SCHOOL!), but none of the characters seem to care, so why should we? That's combined with a very lazy Gatsby recreation, but VZ has nowhere near the lyrical prose or storytelling acumen of F. Scott. I actually laughed when it came time for VZ to recreate the great tragedy of Gatsby: (Spoiler, spoiler!) annoying little sister gets shot through the stomach and drags herself through the snow on her hands to be found by some homeless guy. I laughed for days at the thought of some teenage girl in a full length fur coat creeping Samara-style across a quaint college campus.
So there's some humor involved, though I don't think it was intentional. Another benefit is that nothing really happens, so you'll read it so fast expecting that something will happen soon that you'll only waste two hours or so on this dreck.
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