Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

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I am not quite sure what to take from this novel. Its protagonist is hard to relate to, even though she seems to share her every thought and feeling (and every thought about her feelings) in lucid, agonising detail. Yet the satisfaction of absorbing each perfectly balanced sentence somehow outweighs the frustrations of the almost plotless tale. It could have been subtitled “Lee goes to a much posher high school than her parents intended and grows up a bit over four years”. As beautifully written coming-of-age narratives go, I much preferred The Secret History, with its elements of the thriller and its hints of the bygone mysteries of classical Greece. Mention has also been made of Catcher in the Rye, and given the quality of the self-analysis, perhaps even fair mention. I was hardly ever bored while reading it, yet I don’t feel in any special hurry to read her other novels, which to be fair, all sound a lot more interesting plotwise. After reading some glittering reviews of Sittenfeld’s work, I wanted to read her weakest novel first, and perhaps I have.

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