Yearbooks Are Character Witnesses

This week, the author Curtis Sittenfeld tweeted that it feels like we are now living in her 2005 novel Prep—and she did not mean it in a good way. The book is set at a fictional elite New England boarding school, a place not altogether unlike Georgetown Prep, the Maryland high school that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attended. One of the book’s major themes is its main character and narrator’s difficulty adjusting to the school’s rarified culture, and in a subsequent tweet, Sittenfeld highlighted a passage in which Prep’s narrator talked about turning to old yearbooks as a way to decipher the school’s exotic-seeming ways: “[T]hey were like an atlas for the school. … You could figure out, if you had the inclination and the time, who in a given year was friends with whom and who had dated whom, and who had been popular, or athletic, or weird and fringy.” Sittenfeld articulated something that almost anyone who’s ever paged through a yearbook can attest to, which is that there’s something transfixing about these keepsakes. I know I spent hours poring over the yearbook of a friend’s older sibling in my early teens, before I started high school and became a yearbook editor myself. For people on the outside, a yearbook can feel like a decoder ring. Continue reading at 'Slate'

[ Slate | 2018-09-27 00:00:00 UTC ]
News tagged with: #major themes #main character #early teens

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