Ciara's Reviews > On Borrowed Wings

On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad
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's review
Nov 04, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: especially-great-novels, feminist-y-books, read-in-2007
Recommended for: women's education historians, yalies, literacy activists, boarding school obsessives
Read in October, 2007 , read count: once

chandra prasad edited the anthology mixed, which is a collection of stories about being mixed race. her editor intro thing said that she was coming out with a novel shortly about a young woman who poses as a boy in the 1930s in order to attend yale (before yale went co-ed, obvs). for some reason, this idea captured my imagination, & i was breathless with excitement, waiting for the book to show up at the library. well, this is that book, & yeah, the protaganist assumes the male identity of her dead older brother in order to attend yale in his stead (he died in an accident at the steel mill--due to her poverty & gender, she wouldn't have been able to attend college any other way). she has to conceal her actual gender from all of her classmates & try to bro down with people & pretend to be into girls & stuff, because she actually identifies as a straight woman. she's just doing the dude thing to get a good education. & then she falls in love with one of her buddies, a total campus alpha dog, who somehow figures out that she's a lady & they have a romance. she also does community service with the poor communities in new haven & devotes herself to helping out one family in particular, teaching them all how to read. & there's something about her student work job & how her boss is a xenophobic hitler supporter or something, i don't totally remember. i blocked it out a little because the guy was so objectionable. in retrospect, my anticipation for the book was kind of better than the book itself, but it was still pretty good.
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