Etha Williams's Reviews > Prep

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
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's review
Jul 26, 11

Started reading this under the impression that, while clearly not Great Literature, it could be an entertaining bit of contemporary bildungsroman (a genre for which I have some residual fondness due to abiding and misguided nostalgia). Lee's narrative seemed appealingly self-aware (if in a somewhat clichéd way) from the first few pages I read at the bookstore, so that was promising. Unfortunately, this self-awareness didn't go anywhere: her insights about herself at age 18 were identical to those she'd had at age 14 (plus-or-minus a few sexual encounters). One lost sympathy for her not so much because she remained mired in self-pity for the bulk of her four years in high school (who doesn't) as because that self-pity didn't substantially change. One suspects that a real person would eventually be unable to sustain such a monotonous and unchanging self-pity due to the sheer boredom it induces. Highly unfortunate book.

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