Anna's Reviews > Prep

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
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's review
Sep 25, 2007

really liked it
Read in September, 2007

This book makes me want to shout at its critics, "you don't have to identify with the protagonist to like the book!--identification isn't the only reason to read!". But then I want to defend it precisely because it seems so "real." I.e., I identify with it.

Now I say "defend" because the book is marketed as chick-lit (I don't care how much reputable praise you list on the back cover; when there's a pink and green belt cinching your book, you're chick-lit), and I was embarrassed to brandish it on the El. But brandish it I did, because it's an intense, elaborately insightful, and imaginatively structured novel. Which is why I think identification might be beside the point--if you like Lee, if you don't like Lee; if you recognize your school in hers or you don't--it's still a visceral and whole picture of something, and it feels whole because it isn't a neat linear trajectory from insecure to secure, insular to worldly, and no-boyfriend to perfect-boyfriend. It's whole because it may not feel like your life, but it feels like someone's, and that someone is intermittently hilarious and almost always incisive. (And here's where I get all hypocritical, I know. I'm basing my praise on the very thing I'm saying shouldn't matter. I identify with the narrator's descriptions of certain relationships or social moments, so I call her "incisive." Hoist away...) For the record, though, I recommend spreading it out across several sittings rather than reading it in one big lump--otherwise you can a) become inure to the emotional swings and b) you might miss a would-be favorite line.
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Anna "Become inured," not "become inure." How mortifying.

Marian I loved it too! And I didn't love her or hate her...I mostly just wanted to snap her out of it and remind her that this was her life passing by!! I did identify with that teenage anxiety, though!

Paola Hi goodreaders! I'm another Prep lover and was wondering if any of you guys could recommend something along the lines of Prep. It's not often that I find novels like these, which I pick up again time after time over the years, never tiring of it. Do let me know if you´d like to exchange recommendations. Thanks!

Marian What did you like about it? That might narrow it down a bit!:) for instance did you love that it was a young adult novel, or that she was maturing!?

Evanne Jordan Prep was the book that I wished I could have written- about my high school AND my college years- it brought back all those self-criticizing, over analyzing , socially challenged moments that made me feel exactly like Lee felt throughout her Ault years.
Prep was also terrifically funny, insightful and honest- I loved it!

Paola Marian, thank you for your interest in providing me with a recommendation =)
I loved the arc the story showed, her growth through the novel, the dear friend she found in Martha, how later on she realized she had hurt Conchita, how smitten she was with Cross and the way that story and relationship developed. Pretty much everything! Evanne couldn't have described it better!
I do love characters set in those coming of age moments or circumstances.
Do let me know if I can be of help to any of you guys!

Evanne Jordan Thank you Paola - this was the first attempt at commenting on novel and I was a bit nervous to do so!

Evanne Jordan I would recommend Crooked Little Heart by Annie Lacombe as another interesting and well-written coming of age novel.

Paola Only now am I seeing your comment, Evanne! Thank YOU so much for the recommendation! Will check it out now =)

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