What disturbed me the most about Prep (besides the rather unnecessary graphic parts) is how relatable I found it. I really enjoyed the articulation of that awkward social situation where you know all about someone, but don’t actually know them at all, and all the drama that can create on a small campus with a lot of community rules. (Christian college anyone?) Lee is so conscious of her own private conventions, when she is or isn’t allowed to initiate conversations with other students who might be more popular than she is, who she’s allowed to be comfortable with.
This book is a nice counterpoint to Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, but unfortunately with some of the same issues. Stereotypes abound, and our protagonist Lee is painfully lacking in self-awareness, and seems to purposefully relegate herself to the sidelines. At least this is actually written by a woman.
That being said, some of the content (the graphic scenes with the almost-boyfriend, the entire nature of their relationship, where he takes complete advantage of her and she literally just lays there like a doormat and allows it) is seriously disturbing. I would hope that when we get to the end Lee stands up and realizes that her value, just like her classmates, whether they realize it or not, is not tied to her family’s ability to spend money like water.
I guess, in her own way, she does, but it seems like a watery finish to a bold novel. I’m still deciding what I think.