Laurel's Reviews > Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School

Wonderland by Michael Bamberger
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bookshelves: to-read, nonfiction

I'll be reading this eventually because it's about my high school, the kids in it, and the killer senior prom that is the main focus for the entire community on a particular Saturday in mid-May.

Pennsbury's Senior Prom is not like any prom you've ever seen. This is the definition of magic and all the effort put into such a night is more than amazing. I am able to say this because I was lucky enough to be a prom chair for the student committee during the 2009 edition.

The school itself is completely transformed, there's no grand hotel or cutesy banquet hall when you have nearly 1,500 attendees to entertain. So most of the school's first floor is decorated HEAD TO TOE in painted murals done by students (past the theme's archway and into the gym), as well as the community/parents (the lobby, cafeteria, and classroom halls).

My year's theme was A Novel Night, with the most obvious thing as an archway...
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Wouldn't be complete without Harry and Buckbeak flying overhead.
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But the ENTIRE SCHOOL is like this. Decorated with murals upon murals (I saved a Terminator from the Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008 TV theme) and it now watches over my bed in my apartment).

And to top that off, if you came to prom in a limo or a generic car, you were laughed at.
Seriously.
The entrance to this crazy prom is the whole show. Kids make floats to fit the theme. My brother had the Philly Phanatic, but other kids rolled in on office chairs, shopping carts pushed by their moms, strollers, monster trucks, tractors, firetrucks, the Hershey Kiss mobile, eight-person bicycle, the Oscar Meyer Weiner, anything that would make them the most memorable float of the year. They had to ban aerial arrivals.

It's an insane time, and I only hope that some of this ridiculous magic is captured in this book.
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Reading Progress

January 21, 2012 – Shelved
January 21, 2012 – Shelved as: nonfiction
May 29, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Amber J. (new)

Amber J. Wow, if the prom is that much fun, I wonder what a regular school day was like


message 2: by Laurel (new) - added it

Laurel Amber J. wrote: "Wow, if the prom is that much fun, I wonder what a regular school day was like"

Nowhere near as special, regrettably. :/


Wendy Thanks for posting these pictures! I just picked up "Wonderland" and am really enjoying it so far--I'm only 50-some pages in but can already feel the importance of the prom to the whole community.


message 4: by Laurel (new) - added it

Laurel Wendy wrote: "Thanks for posting these pictures! I just picked up "Wonderland" and am really enjoying it so far--I'm only 50-some pages in but can already feel the importance of the prom to the whole community."

You're welcome! And that's so fantastic! I think 'Wonderland' covers the year John Mayer came to sing for the students as a big surprise? I'm really glad the author has been able to incorporate some of the goodness of the community so far. :)


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