Ok, so I admit I tend to judge a book by it’s cover! It definitely is one of the factors that leads me to picking up a book, so when I first saw Prep, I thought “Ok, it looks light”, which was what I was looking for at the particular point in time.

Prep turned out to be the total opposite! With a faint Catcher In The Rye quality to it, the book is certainly not gripping in that “oh my god I can’t put it down for even a second” kind of way, but it definitely had me interested throughout. Some people might get bored, or annoyed, or pissed off with the main character’s constant under-playing, undermining of herself, but quite honestly I related to almost everything she felt in a guilty sort of way. As Curtis Sittenfeld’s Wikipedia page says : “[Prep] concerns a girl from South Bend, Indiana, who goes to an elite boarding school near Boston, Massachusetts. The plot deals with coming of age and class distinctions in the preppy and competitive atmosphere of the school.”

Lee Fiora, the main character, is someone you’re not likely to spot first in a crowd. And she is well aware of that. It’s not that she’s awkward, a freak, a geek, or humorless. In her eyes, and probably the rest of her peers’, she is ordinary. Lee joins the elite Ault boarding school, but can never explain why. But as a reader, you don’t find the need to question it, just as Lee doesn’t find the need to explain why. Perhaps she wanted to be something special, maybe feel ordinary in “snob school”, but still Lee joins, as one of the few scholarship students. The book was refreshing in the sense that Lee doesn’t do something grand and spectacular that spirals her into the glowing warm spotlight. She doesn’t “find” herself, or end up with the perfect romance. She just emerges probably as real as she was at the start of the story. And, as everybody at Ault School loves to say, “therein lies the paradox”.

This book didn’t change my life. I didn’t fall for the male character. I don’t come out admiring Lee for any of her traits. because I already know those traits, some that I have hidden, some that I have tried to hide and failed, and some that I have allowed to emerge and I’m damn proud that I did.

After all, I did have my own Ault School.

About Author

Bangalorean. Foodie. Bookworm. Animal lover.


  • csbhagya
    21st March 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Read this book a year or two ago. Ironically, I went by the cover too. Mine was fully in a shade of very pleasant pale pink with a belt running across.Was yours the same? Though I wasn’t too impressed by it, the book made for a pretty satisfying read. For some reason I found the ending and the parts before the ending immensely painful. But I think that’s partly due to my difficult relationship with (even slightly) tragic endings…
    I was totally taken by the male lead’s name, though;I found it weirdly fascinating. Cross wasn’t it? Cross Sugar-somethingy…

  • Geetanjali
    21st March 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Cross Sugarman! Some parts were painful,yes. But it was weirdly nice in some way. Left me uncomfortable sometimes, because some of the emotion is so intense but not intense, at the same time. Served as a break from all the candy-floss type things I’ve been reading for a while!

  • zo
    29th April 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Cross Sugarman… I loved this book. I go to a an elite private school called Ashbury. I wish I could say Ashbury had students even half as interesting as the kids at Ault. I love the fact that Lee doesn’t become the hero of the story, but stays herself throughout. What I found pretty funny was that the chubby girl’s name was Clara (wasn’t it?) and there’s a fat girl named Clara at my school, and it just turns out that she’s probably also a lesbian. Or at least I’m pretty sure she is. Ughghghgh. But I think a lot of schools like this are mostly the same. Even so, a good read.


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