Prep: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

November 30, 2009
Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel Prep is an insightful and funny coming-of-age story. Lee feels the usual teen angst compounded by the fact that she really is an outsider, no matter how comfortable she becomes with the school. She is at first close to her family, but as with many teenagers, her relationship with them changes as she gets older. Her reminiscences, youthful but wise, allow her to validate her feelings of loneliness and misery while forgiving herself for her lack of experience and knowledge. The book is light on plot but filled with heartbreaking humor and written in clean prose. There are a few times when Sittenfeld offers too much analysis and on one occasion her foreshadowing gives away part of the story. At times, it is also confusing to distinguish between the past and the present. But for the most part, her story is flawless. The narrator's voice is crafted so naturally that the novel has the feeling of a memoir or a girl's diary. Sittenfeld’s depiction of complex relationships is pleasing and her characters are pathetic, hilarious, and, above all, genuine.

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