Lesley's Reviews > Prep

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
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Jan 05, 08

Recommended for: delayed female travellers
Read in December, 2007

This book kept me entertained enough during my six hour delay at Logan despite the somewhat tedious subject matter (life for an "outsider" at a New England prep school). The characters in this book have names like Cross, Darden, Horton, Aspeth, Gates, and McGrath. I would have thought this was the author poking fun at the absurd names disgustingly wealthy people give their children (I'm sorry but doesn't naming your daughter Horton pretty much guarantee she'll become a coke-addled slut in her late teens/early twenties?), if not for the fact that the female author is herself named Curtis (and has a sister named Tiernan). And Curtis went to prep school, too!

Because this book has to be about something other than the brazenly self-indulgent lives of rich kids at rich kid camp, naturally the socially awkward and neurotic narrator of Prep is at this richy Massachusetts school on (gasp!) scholarship. She's also (gasp!) from the Midwest. No, she's not also Jewish, but somebody else is! Don't worry, though, I'm not into spoilers.

This is the sort of book that has (and it does) a list of discussion questions in the back for use at book club meetings. The writing makes for an easy read and, as a socially awkward neurotic myself, I was occasionally impressed by descriptions of internal thought processes (this book really spoke to me). Ultimately, though, I think Prep takes itself a little too seriously. It's a beach/airport/airplane read. It's not Catcher in the Rye for girls (though perhaps if I'd read it at age 14, I'd be singing a different tune).

Even though I kept turning the pages with amusement and curiosity, this is not the sort of book I would really recommend to anyone, with the exception, perhaps, of listless female travellers who are simply not in the mood for something more challenging (aka satisfying).
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