i was reading prep by curtis sittenfeld. a book about a girl's four years at a private boarding school near boston, i picked it up at a thrift store, where i find most of the books i love (maybe there's less pressure on them to impress me, as i only spent 99 cents on them, as opposed to the $13.95 cover price, so they perform better). i initially saw it on the shelf of a friend whose apartment i recently visited, and discovered she and i are identical book-taste twins (there's gotta be money in that). i think something about its cover led me to believe it was a non-fiction book about the history of "prepiness", which i still probably would have enjoyed, but it fact, it was a wonderful novel, and not just because i saw myself so much in the character, and the similarities between her experience in boarding school and my first years at college (which not contrary to popular belief, was a lot like high school.)
i pretty much took this book to be a fictionalized account of the author's true experience (it seems to be a book trend these days, a la the nanny diaries and the devil wears prada) because of the detail and extreme honesty, and because of the frequent "looking back on it now" realizations that i suppose someone could just invent, but seem to truly grow from acutally having experienced this life, and the events shaping her life and beliefs. however, i have not verified it to be true.
"lee" the main character, verbalized sentiments i've felt since i was pretty young, which are rather awkward to admit, but probably aren't as singular to me as i've always believed. they're ridiculous and self-defeating, but feelings nonetheless, that inform decisions in a stupid way. she talks about always declining invitations because she assumes if the person isn't wildly entheusiastic about her coming, isn't literally pulling on her arm, then they're asking out of obligation, and in truth, her presence would be a nuisance. but then, as she wonders why she wasted her years purposely not having fun, what is so bad about being a nuisance? at least she wouldn't be alone, where she spends time making up fantasies about when people will realize how cool she really is and how much they want to hang out with her. she reassures us that years later, she sheds her insecurity. (thank god for college. i spend a lot of time grateful that i'm not in high school anymore.)
so, i was so into this book that i kept telling myself to save it for italy, so i would be sure to have a book i like to read (the flight is so long, and i plan to spend so much time at the beach in cinque terre, i'm starting to worry about how many books i should bring), but it was futile.