Prep: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
If boarding school is anything like this, I am glad I went public. I finished this book feeling underwhelmed and a bit depressed. Prep is the cautionary tale of uninteresting people leading boring lives, it’s the feel good story of thank god that’s not me. Set in the life of midwestern teen, Lee Fiora who receives a scholarship to the Ault school, it just feels flat, the flow is monotone. It is more of an obituary of the teenage spirt, than a coming of age tale. The editorial reviews state that Sittenfeld’s “real gift lies in her ability to expertly give voice to what is often described as the most alienating period in a young person’s life: high school”, but I found life to be sucked out of the young person. My interpretation of Lee was as a girl trying to escape who she was and where she was from by entering into an elite school. But the upheaval in the end only created a character who was never good enough for the trust fund kids, and never quite fit in to her family again either. There was no acceptance or embracing of who she is, no lesson learned. The confused boring teen became a confused boring adult. Who managed to alienate herself completely from everyone including me and never recovered. It was like the angst that never ended. The story never went very far, the story line was like a trickling stream instead of a raging river, the main heroine was a very rigid unlikable character, who annoyed rather than revered, the romantic side fell flat, and her academic career wasn’t spectacular either. I was unsatisfied. Sittenfeld formed from a very fun and interesting premise, a beautifully written dull work of fiction. Honestly I read for the fiction, I want to be excited and surprised, lead on a journey, not dropped into the life or lack of life of the mundane. The biggest surprise was that I actually finished this book, I kept reading hoping something would happen, something that would make me happy for Lee, only to be let down. When I finish a book I want to feel good and excited about the next book or what an author is doing. I only felt disappointed and empty.
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