Thursday, February 09, 2006


Have you ever read a book that made you wonder if the author got into your head, somehow exposing your wishes and worries? That's how I felt Sunday night as I stayed up way past my bedtime finishing Prep in only the third sitting.

Prep follows Lee, a girl from the midwest, through her high school years at a boarding school on the East Coast. While Lee is a scholarship student, most of her feelings of isolation originate from her fear that she can't fit in. Lee's journey through school reminded me a lot of my high school and college experiences--the great friends I made, sometimes lost and sometimes kept; the wonderful roommates I had; and the fear I often had that everyone was watching me.

I grimaced when Lee pushed away the object of her affections, settling for a private affair rather than the possibility of a relationship. I gasped when I saw heartbreak on her horizon and wanted to stop her when she pushed him away again. I know how rare second chances are. But don't think that this book is about romance--it is about growing up, knowing your place, and finding out you didn't know your place at all. We all see skewed reflections of ourselves in the funhouse mirrors of adolescence.

After I finished the book, I laid in bed exhausted but held my eyes wide open. The dim shadows of my bedroom were the only thing keeping me from closing my eyes and waking in Lee's life or even worse, waking up back in my teenage years. As I lay there, I knew that reading a book that touched me so personally should have taught me something. More powerfully I realized that the lessons Lee learned as the book ended whispered of epiphanies I've had in my life and lessons I still struggle to hold onto.

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At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

There are more books that do this to me than I care to admit. I've started to wonder if they get inside my head, or if I crawl too deeply inside of theirs. Either way, that intense connection? It's the best thing about being a "reader".

At 7:13 PM, Blogger AC said...

I read this too and felt very much the same. I got all twisted up with memories while I was reading.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Greek Shadow said...

Coming to you by way of Brian's blog. Glad you found a book that you could identify with, it would be nice if you dropped a note to the author or publisher.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Chickadee said...

I want to read this's on my Amazon wishlist.

Sometimes I think we are drawn to books that we can relate to all too well. I don't think this is always done on a conscious level. And this book seems like I could relate to it even more now that I've read your synopsis of the story and your reaction after reading the book

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I just read this book, too, and it hit home in a few ways. I think teen angst is universal, but I, too, was a scholarship kid at a private school and was treated much more blatantly cruelly than Lee. Then again, this book makes the point that experience is in perception.

I also wanted to shake her when she settled for a clandestine affair. The author teaches close to me, and sometimes I want to stop by her school and ask her if she realizes how fab she is.


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