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Prep: A Novel (2005)

de Curtis Sittenfeld

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
4,9191481,732 (3.55)148
In the late 1980s, for reasons even she has difficulty pinpointing, fourteen-year-old Lee Fiora leaves her middle-class, close-knit, ribald family in Indiana and enrolls at Ault, an elite co-ed boarding school in Massachusetts. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of, and ultimately a participant in, their rituals and mores, although, as a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider. By the time she's a senior, Lee has found her place at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her hard-won identity within the community is shattered. Lee's experiences, complicated relationships with teachers, intense and sometimes rancorous friendships with other girls, an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush, are both a psychologically astute portrait of one girl's coming-of-age and an embodiment of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all.… (més)
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Anglès (141)  Neerlandès (3)  Suec (2)  Alemany (1)  Totes les llengües (147)
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Definitely captures the atmosphere of a New England prep school in the 90s. Also feels like an excellent description of living with anxiety, though it's never called that. Some excellent plot construction. I got sucked into much of the book. She touches on issues of class, race, gender, and sexuality, doing the best with class, but some of the characters are flat and end up servicing the plot. Some of these characters -- Little being the biggest example -- are the ones who are Black or Asian. I understand the young Lee having a limited understanding of race, but the narrator looking back have a better idea but does not, so the attempts to illuminate race at the school fall flat. ( )
  erikasolberg770 | Aug 25, 2021 |
PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld (2005)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
This was a hard one to get into in part because the main character was so incredibly passive. I know this was probably a deliberate choice on the author's part to demonstrate how a combination of anxiety and insecurity can combine to lock someone in an unhappy situation they feel powerless to change, which is actually a pretty accurate accounting of what its like to be an adolescent. That said...my goodness is it unpleasant to read about it for 400 pages. ( )
  Jthierer | Apr 13, 2021 |
(15) Oh my goodness - I loved this. This woman is one of the best American writers in my opinion. Granted, her subject matter maybe only appeals to a narrow audience (educated white women of a certain age) but she is so good at what she does do. I am very late to the party reading this book - it describes a middle-class mid-Western girl who goes to a prestigious boarding school in the North East on scholarship and exquisitely narrates the neurosis that ensues. It very much reminded me of Wolf's "I am Charlotte Simmons," which I loved and also of the memoir "Notes on a Silencing," which I read recently about St. Paul's. Lee is both the most tortured adolescent imaginable yet, a 'everywoman' that we can all relate to.

She depicted the anguish of the extreme self-consciousness of adolescence to a T. This idea that you are alone and unnoticed and everyone else moves through life so effortlessly. This concept of caring and obsessing so much, yet having to pretend you don't care. Anticipating and imaging potential awkward moments so intensely that fear of embarrassment is your guiding principle. I feel such a palpable empathy for adolescent girls even as I write.

I think this subject matter - I mean crushes, notes in class, details of adolescents sex, gossip - on the surface is pretty low brow. But I could not stop reading. I just adored Lee and all of her flaws, I will say, I am not sure the Lee we had come to know though would have given that interview in the end. It felt incongruent with the girl I knew - counting for the half star off.

I think I have read all or most of Sittenfeld's novels and they have all been similarly engaging and well-written - albeit limited in scope and appeal. 'Prep' despite being her debut, perhaps is her best. Bravo! ( )
  jhowell | Mar 26, 2021 |
The main character's feelings of isolation and her sense of being a misfit in a world with social class divisions will speak to many readers, not only those who have gone to prep school. ( )
  LindaLoretz | Mar 15, 2021 |
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In the late 1980s, for reasons even she has difficulty pinpointing, fourteen-year-old Lee Fiora leaves her middle-class, close-knit, ribald family in Indiana and enrolls at Ault, an elite co-ed boarding school in Massachusetts. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of, and ultimately a participant in, their rituals and mores, although, as a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider. By the time she's a senior, Lee has found her place at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her hard-won identity within the community is shattered. Lee's experiences, complicated relationships with teachers, intense and sometimes rancorous friendships with other girls, an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush, are both a psychologically astute portrait of one girl's coming-of-age and an embodiment of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all.

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