Has anyone else read Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld?
Did anyone else hate it?
Dude, I haaaated this book. More to the point, I hated the narrator. The narrator bugged the ever-living holy ghost out of me – never, in all my life, have I encountered a more whiny, morose, banal, boring, self-pitying, pathetic, and empty protagonist. We’re supposed to give a shit about this girl? Pray tell, why? She does nothing, she participates in nothing, she cares about nothing.
I only finished it because my roommate asked me to read it – and she loved it, so I don’t want to unleash my ire upon her and ruin something she enjoyed.
And to be fair, the author did a fantastic job of creating a truly believable world in Ault School, and she has a clear and accurate writing style which I enjoyed (i.e., she has a good amount of talent when it comes to crafting a sentence). All the in-jokes and rituals in this boarding school world seem dead-on, and I commend her for that. The other characters rang true – I wish to God we had been following one of them.
There was just no there there, when it came to the narrator. She had no interests, nothing seemed to excite her except getting a nod of recognition from the Hot Guy, she had no vitality, no life! Hell, I wasn’t popular in high school and I was depressed during most of my adolescence, but I cared about things! Music, art, literature – these were my solace. Shoot, I recently discovered my 10th grade diary, and (embarrassingly dorky as this is, I’ll tell you: ) there are pages and pages of me going on and on about The Cure and Depeche Mode (Depeche Mode! :smack: ) and Erik Satie, and how much I adored them. My parents might not have been able to get a smile out of me, but inside my own thoughts, there were all sorts of passions drawing my attention and energy.
This girl has nothing. And anyway, she’s not supposed to be clinically depressed…she’s supposed to be a girl who merely feels left out and self-conscious and just wants to be noticed. So, like, what is it about those things that should preclude having a personality, even if she only keeps it to herself? Huh??
Oh, here’s a passage for a taste. Set-up: she’s been letting the Hot Guy use her for sex (passionless, cold-and-clammy, icky sex) and she FINALLY decides to say something to him about it and let him know that she’s not happy, and halfway during her confrontation, he turns the conversation around to her and says:
…Flattered? FLATTERED? W.T.F. And no, dumbass, you weren’t practicing anything – I’ve just been inside your thoughts for your four years of high school, and you cared about nothing but your fruitless quest for popularity. Nothing! BAH.
And what’s worse, what’s even worse, is that the narrator is supposed to be a grown woman, at least in her late 20s, looking back on her boarding school years. You’d think this would lend some sort of compassion or – I don’t know what I’m trying to say – you’d read some kind of comment once in a while of recognition and understanding of how silly and trivial her teenaged fears were. But: no. No. No.
Read this girl’s Amazon review (second one down) for a much more eloquent version of what I was trying to say.
God, it feels so good to vent.