Blurbing book club book from June 25th to July 23rd.
Here's a few things you should probably do:
1. Read the book (obviously).
2. Come back to this forum and leave your thoughts about the book. You can write a sentence, you can write an essay, it doesn't matter, whatever you want.
3. Blurb the book.
Some of you may not know what a blurb is so allow me to explain: A blurb is a sentence of 10 words or less, that sums up the book in question. If you want an example, look on the back (occasionally the front) of some books lying around your house. Those are blurbs.
Keep in mind that you can also compose lol-cat blurbs if you'd like (the same thing but with internet slang).
Blurb: Girl with weird name has weird friends with weird names.
Lol-cat blurb: I kan haz boarding skoolz and verbally silent jock boyfriendz?
Needless to point out, I found this book weird, and did not like it very much. While I am a quirky person and a little weird myself, i found this book kinda creepy and strange and detached. I formed no emotional connection to any of the characters and felt it was a very unflattering and inaccurate portrayal of teenagers. Now I have read a lot of books in my life, and many strange names have met these eyes. I understand that the author is a female named Curtis. But Cross Sugarman? Aspeth? Those were a little too far out for me. In addition, I felt like I never really got to know any of the characters. This goes back to the detached comment. Though we get a lot of dialogue and description of clothing and facial expressions, etc., we don't really KNOW that much about anyone. We all have unusual, out of place thoughts sometimes, but I felt that Lee was in a world of her own. Lastly, i have a system for how i think about books. Okay books are an oval, with a good beginning and end but a middle that I never seem to want to get through. Good books are a circle whose journeys are predictable but are nonetheless well written and entertaining. Great books are a sphere, where everything you expect is thrown out the window, and the story shoots off in different directions. Fantastic, lifetime favorite books are spirals, a journey that never ends because long after you have read the final page you keep imagining what would have happened if the story had kept going. They have an even journey that begins in a good place and stays relatively close to that good place throughout. For me, Prep was almost an oval. Like an oval made out of a dotted line. Parts of it were interesting and insightful, but then something else would turn me off to it entirely. Then something would interest me again, then my interest would plummet. It took me months earlier this year to finish the book because i didn't like it so much. While I respect Curtis Sittenfeld's success and am happy this book was such a hit for so many other teens and critics, it didn't catch on with me.
Thanks! It has really worked for me over the years, but people who aren't very consistent or devoted readers don't really get it. It's nice to know that it was understood by someone who sees what I'm trying to explain. Kudos back for letting me know that someone else besides me gets it =)
I formed no emotional connection to any of the characters and felt it was a very unflattering and inaccurate portrayal of teenagers. Now I have read a lot of books in my life, and many strange names have met these eyes. I understand that the author is a female named Curtis. But Cross Sugarman? Aspeth? Those were a little too far out for me. In addition, I felt like I never really got to know any of the characters. This goes back to the detached comment. Though we get a lot of dialogue and description of clothing and facial expressions, etc., we don't really KNOW that much about anyone.
YES! THIS! SO MUCH! I had a short-lived blog on pop culture consumption and posted the following open letter to Sittenfeld after reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics - thought I'd share because it expresses the same sentiments in your comment :)
Dear Curtis Sittenfeld,
Please read Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl and take copious, copious notes on character description done properly. Take, for example, one of the many passages from your novel Prep that presents only a hairstyle, over-thought name, and clothing choice for the complete description of a character:
“I thought of Aspeth’s long pale hair, the clothes she wore – now that it was spring, pastel shirts and khaki skirts and white or navy espadrilles – and her tan, shapely legs and the light sprinkling of freckles across her nose, which always looked as if she had spent the afternoon playing tennis in the sun. Then I glanced and Conchita on the bike beside me, her glowing pink rain slicker and hat, her dark puffy hair.”
Or how about this one:
“Norie Cleehan, who was a pale skinny girl from Colorado with long limp brown hair and a soft voice said, ‘Leave it alone, Darden.”
Now, compare these to a Pessl passage:
“She had an elegant sort of romantic, bone-sculpted face, one that took well to both shadows and light, even at their extremes. And she was older than I’d realized, somewhere in her late thirties. Most extraordinarily thought was the air of a Chateau Marmont bungalow about her, a sense of RKO, which I’d never before witnessed in a person, only while Dad and I watched Jezebel into the early hours of the morning. Yes, within her carriage and deliberate steps like a metronome (now retreated behind the display of potato chips) was a little bit of the Paramount lot, a little neat scotch and air kisses at Ciro’s. I felt, when she opened her mouth, she wouldn’t utter the crumbly speech of modernity, but would use moist words like beau, top drawer and sound (only occasionally ring-a-ding-ding), and when she considered a person, took in him/her, she would place those nearly extinct personality traits – Character, Reputation, Integrity and Class – above all others.”
And one more, just for good measure:
“Well, it just so happened Hello, My Name Is LARSON was a kid Dad took to like a Surinam Cockroach to bat droppings. He was one of those unsinkable eighteen-year-olds, with a Hardy Boy face no one had anymore, all freckles and gee-whiz grin, thick brown hair that grew around his face like an urn plant and a lanky body in constant motion as if he were being operated by a ventriloquist on speed (see Chapter 2, ‘Charlie McCarthy’ The Puppies That Changed Our Lives, Mesh, 1958). Dad found Larson wondrous. And that was the thing with Dad: he’d teach Modes of Mediation to a thousand John Dorys he was barely able to stomach, and then he’d pay a kid for a berry-favored Tums and fall head over heels, declaring him a veritable dolphin who’d spiral through the air when you whistled. ‘Now that’s a promising young man,’ said Dad. ‘I’d exchange every Happy, Sleepy and Doc to teach him. He was spark. You don’t find that often.’”
See how uninspired and severely lacking your descriptions are, even though both yours and Pessl’s characters are in the same prep-school demographic, so there’s really no excuse? See? See how I’m still angry at having wasted hours reading your inane dribble even though it was years ago? See?
i read this book last summer. i think it could have been a bit shorter, it seemed like there was a lot of filler stuff that didn't need to be there (don't ask me for examples, i won't remember lol) but then again those things probably added a lot of descriptive facets to the book. the one thing i DO remember, however, is the sex scenes. this was a book that was recommended for 8th graders as summer reading, and i just thought it was funny that an incredibly conservative school like mine would want kids (and not particularly mature kids, either) to read this. overall, it was pretty awesome. i related with the main character a ton, but at the same time i do agree that it was a little... emotionless at times. very detached. i think it was a little over dramatic at times, but then again, thats how some teenage girls minds work. in conclusion, not good, not bad, in between. but for anyone who hasn't read it, i'd give it a shot.
Blurb: A self-absorbed yet insecure teenager attending a snobbish boarding school has an unrequited obsession with boy who will never love her.
I loved this book. It's full of simple observations that writers tend to over look. Lee Fiora and I share a lot of the same anxieties and observational tendencies, but I didn't like how insecure she was. I understand she was a middle-class Mid-Easterner in a land full of stuck-up investor's children with mothers who've never worked a day in their lives. I did, however liked the portrayal of Conchita Maxwell. Conchita really showed Lee that her (Lee's) preconceived notions of race were nothing but ignorant and shameful. As was the revelation that Cross was Jewish. Overall, pretty well written and very accurate in it's portrayal of boarding school.
I didn't really like the book that much. As others have said, it was very detached, and didn't really seem to have a plot. There wasn't really anything that tied the whole book together, and all of the climax and action happened in Lee's senior year. It also seemed strange to me that during her senior year she would reference things that happened in her sophomore or freshman year, but they weren't mentioned in those sections.
It honestly scared me a little bit, because I partially identify with the narrator, but I don't ever want to become like her, closed off, afraid, and unable to stand up for anything. I don't regret reading it, and it did give me some things to think about.
It just made me really sorry for Lee. She had at least partial control in her surroundings, and she knew they were making her unhappy, but she never did anything about it. She really just wanted to please everyone else.
i read the book two years ago, and i liked it. as some of you said, the book is detached, but maybe this is what the author tried to say? Lee tried to interact with people yet stay away from them. the struggle is the core of the book is it not :)
Read this book on the recommendation of a friend like two years back and loved it, the characters rang true and I liked how it didn't have a happy ending. Sorry I'm not so good at throwing blurbs together.