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Prep [Hardcover]

Curtis Sittenfeld
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Sep 2005
Class is a British problem. Right?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 403 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (2 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330441264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330441261
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the bestselling novels Prep and The Man of My Dreams. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Product Description


Knocks spots off Tom Wolfe -- Metro

She is a narrator exquisitely attuned to nuance..Prep, in short, is not a preparatory work but a highly accomplished novel -- Independent on Sunday

Sittenfield writes with confidence, her dialogue rings true, and her observations range from witty to surprisingly funny, sometimes absurd. -- Herald

a straightforward, serious, funny book...i liked the book so much. -- London Review of Books

funny..witty and captures all the angst, ambition and mood-swings of the adolescent. A must for teenages and former teenagers. -- Western Daily Press

highly recommended by trendy American literati..writing is fresh and vivid and the subject is uiversal...extremely enjoyable.. -- The Sunday Timea

incisive account of an unhappy adolescence..exposes the artificility of a community that fails to compensate for lack of family love -- Guardian

Book Description

Orange Prize shortlisted first novel by the phenomenal word-of-mouth bestselling author of American Wife, now republished in Black Swan --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Youth Isn't Wasted By The Young, It's Endured 1 Jan 2006
"I was terrified of unwittingly leaving behind a piece of scrap paper on which were written all my private desires and humiliations. The fact that no such scrap of paper existed ... never decreased my fear."
Lee Fiora has written a coming of age novel unlike no other. On the one hand she is insecure and unsure of most everything, and on the other hand she shows a maturity of thought on what she really wants to be:
"The interest I felt in certain guys then confused me, because it wasn't romantic, but I wasn't sure what else it might be. But now I know: I wanted to take up people's time making jokes, to tease the dean in front of the entire school, to call him by a nickname. What I wanted was to be a cocky high-school boy, so damned sure of my place in the world."
Curtis Sittenfeld, the author, grew up in Cincinnati, and went to Groton and then on to Vassar and Stanford. Lee Fiora grew up in South Bend, and then on to Ault Prep School and the U of Michigan. Curtis Sottenfeld would have us believe that this is not an autobiography, but many people who went to Groton can identify with much of the book. I would suggest that many people who were ever adolescents can identify with much of the book. This is a true coming of age novel, and one that reflects accurately the angst of the teenager. Most of us can sympathize with Lee Fiora, we have been there, we have suffered the same problems and issues, and Curtis Sittenfeld has depicted these events as startlingly and evenly as we remember them.
"Prep" is not an "us against "you" novel as suggested elsewhere. It is more of a compelling read about our lives and times. The "haves and have nots" are certainly registered. Cross, Aspeth, DeDe are all names that gleam money and power.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 19 Feb 2008
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Walking through the typical young adult section of a bookstore, there are usually five, maybe even ten, books about a teenage girl, perhaps from a small town, who transfers from that wee little town to a prep school.

Typically, this prep school is in Connecticut, or Massachusetts. Typically, the girl starts out struggling, tries to fit in with the popular crowd, misses her hometown, faces many moral problems, and meets a handsome, promising young prep school boy who shows her the ways of love. Seeing the plot of Curtis Sittenfeld's PREP for the first time, a normal reader would write it off as being another cliché prep school book.

There's where they'd be wrong.

PREP is a searing, creative look at the life of one small-town girl, Lee Fiora, who comes from her home in South Bend, Indiana, to Ault, a prep school in Massachusetts. Exposed to many new kinds of ideas and people, Lee stands on the thin line between misery and naivety as she explores all that her new life has to offer.

Sittenfeld writes about teen angst in a way that doesn't try to make it seem petty or unimportant; she embraces it, and fully understands it. This is what sets the book apart from many other titles. Wallowing in loneliness and heartbreak, the reader feels as if Lee is actually a part of them, and that they are experiencing all of the awkward and horrible events that are occurring in the story.

Lee acts as an opposite-gender Holden Caulfield, the main male character in J.D. Salinger's classic novel THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. She takes everything with a grain of salt and a little bit of dry humor while making wise observations well beyond her years. PREP is bound to become a classic, for its brutally honest interpretation of a time that plagues all of us: high school.

Reviewed by: Amanda Dissinger
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic.... 13 Dec 2006
Although set in an American boarding school, Prep captures the insular nature of any school environment with precision and a truthfulness which leaves you aching.

Lee Fiora a scholarship student at Ault, a prestigious East Coast boarding school, feels like an outsider from the beginning of her time there. The book shows you her development throughout her four years and shows her grappling with everyday problems. However, the book is not mundane in any respect, it conveys her insecurities, her need to always remain distant and somewhat detached. The questions she raises are perhaps those which any teenager might ask, what is her place in her insular society, where does she fit in and how?

What makes this book particularly interesting is the fact that Lee is narrating the incidents sometime after she has left Ault, thus she is able to relay these episodes with hindsight, and she is able to see more clearly the intensity and importance placed on them, an intensity which may seem unecessary when you step out of the school environment and see it in relation to the world at large. But it is also the intensity of these incidents which ring true, the fact that in such a small, close-knit school society, and perhaps because of the age of the students these incidents become life or death...

If you can get past the ridiculous names; Cross, Darden, Horton, Gates are but a few, then you will find a brilliantly written book that might leave you nostalgic for the innocence, naievity and purity of emotion which come from being a teenager.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
An honest insight into the world of a prep school as told by a perpetual outsider. Sittenfeld accurately captures the trials and tribulations of a teenager trying to blend... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Emily
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your time, too many good books out there
The first book I read by Curtis Sittenfield was American Wife so my expectations were high when I bought Prep. I was sadly disappointed. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Satan Girl
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm.......
This was a disappointment after reading and enjoying Sittenfield's The American Wife. It would no doubt appeal to a younger generation, perhaps around the age of the main... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bunty
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm that persistent person who finishes every book, regardless ...
I'm that persistent person who finishes every book, regardless of how much I'm disliking it. Kudos to Curtis Sittenfeld for creating a book that made me want to rip my hair out... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rakina
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing but a book for young women not adult women
I love her books but couldn't get into this because it's about ateenager. But writg brilliant. Recommend to young person as it's all about growing up and the insecurities... Read more
Published 6 months ago by breakdown
2.0 out of 5 stars Kinda pointless...
I was recommended this book by a friend and was interested by the blurb but just didn't enjoy it. My biggest problem was that main character wasn't likeable at all, which would... Read more
Published 7 months ago by JustOneMoreBook
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Rite of Passage Book
A middle class girl goes to a posh New England boarding school and grows, develops and becomes an adult. Read more
Published 9 months ago by ameroscot
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed
Based on the book reviews I expected a little more.

there was some things about the content that widely disturbed me (and I can assess that, having attended such a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by DanielL
2.0 out of 5 stars A frustrating read
Fortunately for both me and Curtis Sittenfeld, her later novel 'Sisterland' is awesome, but 'Prep' was a very frustrating book to read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Moto Moto
4.0 out of 5 stars School was never like this for most of us!
Well written so that kept the pages turning - read it in one sitting - and for that alone I'd recommend it. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lisa Laurenti
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