Prep – Curtis Sittenfeld


Curtis Sittenfeld won the Seventeen magazine fiction-writing contest at age sixteen, in 1992, and the Mississippi’s Review annual fiction contest in 1998. Her writing has appeared in Fast Company, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Real Simple, and on public radio’s This American Life. A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award. Sittenfeld was the 2002-2003 writer-in-residence at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.

The book in one sentence: A remarkable portrayal of a teenage girl’s thoughts, emotions and life living in a prestigious boarding school.

Who would you recommend it to: It being a young adult book, and a notable one at that, it would only be natural to recommend it to teenagers. But no, I won’t. I’d suggest this book to people who enjoy a dark, gloomy tale, because it’s not a very happy book. Teenagers who would enjoy more mature readings (ie. less fluffy takes) might like this.

Best bits: The beginning, when I thought I found a literary equivalent to myself as a teenager, when I thought things would get better for the protagonist. (It does, but not in the way I hoped it would.)

Boring bits: The contemplations, especially when you get nearer to finishing the book.

Random review quote:

Prep may be as addictive a M&Ms, but it’s also a tart and complex tale of social class, race, and gender politics.” — The Boston Globe

Verdict: I really, really liked it at first, but as I read further, I started to dislike her little observant contemplations that were so appealing in the beginning. I just wanted to get on with the story, but the protagonist refuse to take one step further into the plot without going two steps back into contemplation. It is terribly realistic, this portrayal of a teenager and all her angst and hope, but it is such a terrible reality.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. silverneurotic
    Apr 21, 2007 @ 00:49:54

    I liked “Prep”, though, I kind of started feeling uncomfortable reading it because it kind of made me feel as though I was reading through my diaries (if I had kept them!) of when I was her age. I didn’t mind the inner observations though, I found them interesting.

    At least Prep was a lot better than Sittenfeld’s other book “Man of my Dreams”…though, not terrible, I definitely though it was lacking in that same magic that I found in “Prep”.

    nylusmilk: well, one man’s meat is another’s poison, as the saying goes! i do admit though although i didn’t like it i thought it was a good book.


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