Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ok, things have been super busy the last few days and I haven't had a chance to post my two new book reviews. Last Saturday I finished The Cheerleader (don't have the book in front of me and can't find anything but young adult books called The Cheerleader on Amazon!) and last Sunday I read Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. Both fit together pretty well since they both chronicle the craziness, chaos and joy of high school life for two teenage girls.

The Cheerleader was the book that I finished on Saturday. Honestly I didn't like this book for the first 25 pages. I found it depressing, melancholy and rather a bit too familiar to my own struggles with depression. But once I got into the book, it moves from short monologues into a more narrative style, I felt more like an observant, worried adult watching this girl as her hold on sanity collapses. Part of that is certainly the fact that I'm now in my thirties and able to look back on my late teens and early twenties with a little perspective. But as I read about the struggles of this young, sensitive, high school girl. No one seems to see through her facade of health and happiness. She gets stuck in an abusive relationship, she has such insecurities and doubts while the outside world can only see a beautiful, popular cheerleader. I liked the first person narrative aspect of the book. You are right inside Jo's head, hearing her thoughts, witnessing her interactions with friends and family, and seeing the discrepancies and pretense in her inner voice versus her outer actions. She covers up so much of her depression and anxiety that things really start to unravel in her freshman year at college when her entire support system is gone. This book touched me with the author's ability to really get inside Jo's head and present her in such a way that you empathize with her, understand her and only want to protect her. Thankfully the book wraps things up a bit and catches up with Jo in her twenties, feeling healthier and able to function as a stable adult in graduate school. Honest, painful and well written. But still hits a bit too close to home for me personally to really enjoy reading it.

I'll write my little Prep review a little later.

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