View Full Version : PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld

Bayou Bill
12-20-2006, 11:58 PM
I just finished PREP, the 2005 best-selling first novel by Curtis Sittenfeld. It's not perfect, but IMHO it's very very good and I recommend it highly.

If youíve read it, what did you think of the writing or observations?

If you didnít, or need to refresh your memory, here are excerpts, including several quotes from the novel, from a review by San Francisco Chronicle writer, Jesse Berrette, which may give you a flavor of the book. And at no additional cost, that's followed by a link to an excerpt from chapter one.

Bayou Bill http://forum.literotica.com:81/images/smilies/cool.gif


Escorting us through Midwesterner Lee Fiora's four years at a tony Massachusetts boarding school -- called Ault -- in microscopic emotional detail, "Prep" conveys the inner world of an entirely typical teenage girl with remarkable warmth. Across eight long chapters, each dealing with an emblematic experience that may or may not have to do with school, Sittenfeld shows us Lee's clear-eyed respect for the ruthless social and emotional proprieties of teen hierarchy, and most of all her unsparing clarity about her painful averageness ("it was in falling short that I truly excelled").


Still, from sentence to sentence, Sittenfeld gets at wonderful truths about why our teenage years are still part of childhood, how they afford endless opportunities for wonder and wondering: "I knew three things about Adam Rabinovitz, all of which intrigued me without inspiring any desire ever to speak to him." "When boys had their growth spurts, did they always grow proportionally, or was there a chance some part of the body -- for instance, the hands -- didn't get the message and stayed as they were, vestiges of the smaller self?" She is wonderful on crushes and the terrifying notion of loving someone else: "Liking a boy was just the same as believing you wanted to know a secret -- everything was better when you were denied and could feel tormented by curiosity or loneliness. But the moment of something happening was treacherous."

And Sittenfeld's description of Lee's preparation to perform her first sexual act deserves to become a classic of awkwardness recollected in tranquility. Her thoughts have the perfect absurdity of adult doings filtered through a teenager's range of reference: "It was like when you had to do a presentation in class and you felt like you needed some official sign to begin, like a whistle in a race, but instead everyone was just waiting for you and the most official thing that would happen would be that you'd say okay a few times: 'Okay. Okay, the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years' War, began in 1754 ...' I even said, 'Okay.' Then I crouched down."


Link to an excerpt from Chapter One. PREP (http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400062317&view=excerpt)