Recommendation From the Archives: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Those of us in the Seattle area got slammed with a crazy wind storm yesterday, and we were without power for nearly 24 hours.  It could have been worse - just about nine years ago, it was knocked out for five and a half DAYS.  Though, I was particularly annoyed yesterday, since I'd gone grocery shopping the day before and bought some Thanksgiving staples ahead of time - including the turkey.  Thankfully, it was secure in our deep freezer.  Although, I can't say the same for the $14 pork shoulder in the fridge that was for our tacos on Friday.  Ah well, I got a TON of reading in!  I  read almost all of This is What Happy Looks Likefrom my beginning of the month stack, and it got me thinking about other books I've devoured in a day...

One stands out CLEARLY in my mind: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.  I thought it'd be a good novel to start up a recurring post, recommending favorite books from my archives!

I clearly remember a lazy Sunday afternoon, before we had children of course, and curling up in our oversized chair with our Pug to read Prep.  I ended up taking breaks only to hit the restroom (so much coffee!) and eat.  No blackout was needed, as there were no smartphones, no Facebook, no Twitter or Instagram to distract me.  Yes, I will admit to being distracted by these things nowadays.  

Prep follows a bit of a boarding school formula: the outsider (Lee from Indiana) attending a posh East cost prep school (Ault in Massachusetts).  But from there, her encounters with the other students, teachers and most definitely the boys at Ault and the strange rituals of young adulthood are RIVETING.  Maybe it's because I do enjoy a good boarding school narrative.  See also: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, Looking For Alaska.  I found Sittenfeld's writing on the experience, and often painful feelings, of being barely a teenager to be heartbreakingly accurate.  Lee is not exactly a likeable character, but I could certainly identify with a great deal of her emotions.  It would be an interesting read, now that I am a parent, thinking toward the future teenage girl in my home.  Or maybe not...


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