Class is a British problem. Right?
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. "The Bankers Boys" are a reflection of the rich young men whose fathers are found on Wall Street. "Prep" also brings in the stereotypical race and sexual issues, but they are told with insight and familiar settings. We understand what these people are going through, and we can identify with the feelings and behaviors.
Lee Fiora is a young girl of the late 80's and early 90's. Just before the dawn of email and computer land. The students talk to each other and on the phone and communication with their parents is as I remember. The love/hate relationship with the family we have left behind and the values taught by our parents.
A memorable read. Many of us can identify with the behavior and feelings of Lee Fiora. In trying to find your place in the world, we all are wrestling with our inner beings. Well done Curtis Sittenfeld. My adolescence remembered, one of the best times of my life and one of my worst. Highly recommended. prisrob 01-01-06
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