Book Review: Prep
In all fairness it was well written, original and honest. The Unwritten Rules of Prep School were definitely on point - the stuff about money, about getting into fancy colleges, about loyalty to The Idea of your school. I didn't go to a boarding school, but a Jesuit 'College Prep' in downtown Chicago. It had been a boys' school for 100 years before allowing girls in about six years before I started there, so it still had a lot of that old school tradition shtick. One of my personal favorite ancient institutions at SICP was the JUG. You didn't get a detention, you got a JUG, or Judgment Under God. JUG was also used as a verb, as in 'You're jugged.' JUG consisted of copying the Code of Conduct out of the school handbook for 2 hours after school. Come on, how great is that?! It's a rite of passage!
But Lee. Ugh. I found Lee just about the most annoying unenjoyable character I've read in a while. I found her incessant self-consciousness excrutiating. I know, I know, that's the way that teenage girls think. I get it. I guess I just don't want to be in a teenage girl's head anymore. Dare I say I liked Charlotte Simmons better? The plot was more interesting, but it was basically the same story. But Tom Wolfe made it sexier and more colorful.
Thinking back to my high school days, I wasn't a whole lot like Lee. I was one of those alternachicks who wore Doc Martens and necklaces made of safety pins and listened to The Smiths and Ministry incessantly. One of my fondest memories of high school is dumping our prom dates afterwards, and my girlfriends and I dropping acid and roaming around the city at 4 am.
I guess you could say I was a little wild.*
Maybe the reason why Lee bugs me so much is because I'm currently battling my own Mousy Girl on the End Pew Syndrome. In high school, I knew everything. And I was totally self-confident because I knew I knew everything. Now, enh, not so much. And putting myself on the line like I am with this business lately has really been quite a challenge to my ego. It's quite nerve racking to be in the spotlight like this, with people expecting so much. It's fucking scary, it is.
*The extent of my getting in trouble was getting JUGs for talking during Mass, not wearing socks and wearing colored jeans (I realize I'm dating myself here!). I never got caught smoking pot before school or ditching French with Ms. Lodl. Those infractions would have necessitated a heavier punishment than JUGs, but because I did well in school and was only a minimally rebellious teenage girl on the outside, I always slipped under the radar screen. But I went on to a fine university and ended up perfectly normal and not a delinquent. I cherish memories of being harmlessly naughty back then. It saved me from doing really stupid stuff in college.