Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rachel's Response to Commencement: Part 2

Here I am 3 days after we posted the questions finally answering them! I've really been thinking about this book since I finished it last weekend and I am just not sure how to phrase my feelings. This book seemed to be all over the place, so I hope I am able to accurately describe my final thoughts and reaction to it.

1. What parts of the book could you most relate to? Least relate?
The beginning, when they talked about going to college and making friends and that awkward weird transition those first few weeks in the dorm. Took me right back to August 2002 when I was in the same shoes as these girls. It was odd knowing it was your new home but feeling more confused and lost than ever before.

I could also relate to Celia in a lot of ways. She wanted to make her friends happy and she truly seemed to have the most "normal" live of all the girls. I could easily relate to her compared to the other 3 girls who seemed to have more issues.

What do I relate to the least? Definitely the feelings of feminism. It's an area I've never identified with. I am all about women's rights, but I'm also really into stay at homes and being a wife who cooks dinner. I typically steer clear of feminist material because I don't think it's necessary to feel guilty for wanting to cook dinner for my husband.

2. If the author were to write another novel that followed one of the girls onto her next step of life, which one would you want it to be about? Whose story would you want to follow more of?
Probably Celia. I just liked her the most but I felt like we learned the least about her and her personal life. I want to know more about her life in NYC and her dating escapades. Bree (and her romantic life with Lara) bored me. April was too far out for me to have much interest in, and Sally I liked a lot and would like to hear about her as a mother, but even still, Celia was the girl I enjoyed the most. I think the author could do a lot with her story.

3. What surprised you the most about this book?
The ending. It felt so open and empty. It all happened fast and didn't really conclude for me. I would have loved to have seen this a little more tied up. i understand that we don't always get a "and they lived happily ever after..." but this particular ending seemed rushed and almost fake? I don't know. Basically the whole last April section was kind of like a great big, "What?!" Anyone else feel that way?

4. Which character did you look forward to reading about the most?
It changed through out the book. In the beginning, Bree. She seemed like most the girls I knew in college and I liked making comparisons to her to my friends in real life. Celia and her story was always interesting. I think the part about her rape was the most interesting. I think the author could have done a lot more with her. Of the 4 girls, she seemed like the one we learned the least about. By the end I did like reading about Sally and the baby. But that's probably because I was just interested in reading about her pregnancy. Never cared for the April chapters.

5. Did this book meet your expectations?
Not really. I think it was an okay written book, but the plot development was slow (it took more than half the book to get to the real problem in the story), and the theme(s) were uninteresting to me.

On goodreads I gave the book a 3 out of 5 stars, but I really considered giving it a 2. I think the author has great potential, but this particular story just wasn't cutting it for me. Don't know if it was the feminism themes involved, or if it was just the story in general. I think she's a good writer, I just wish there had been more to draw me in.

I haven't read any of your posts yet (I know, I know!). It's been a crazy week in the teacher world, but I really hope to read your thoughts and comments over the weekend. I'm curious to know if anyone else felt the way I did.


  1. Seriously, the April "was hiding" all that time 'twist' was lame. So, SO unbelievable. I am rather lukewarm about this book, too. It ended and I was thinking "seriously? That's the end? Meh." And I hear you with teacher craziness-I have 4 evenings of parent conferences to deal with in the next week and a half. Good luck to you!

  2. One question I was left with after the ending was if the other three girls were mad at April for what she did. I mean, I think we can safely assume that they would just be oh-so-glad to have her back, but if I were Sally, I'd be kinda pissed if I named my baby after my friend who I thought was dead (instead of my beloved dead mother), and they turned out to have been faking it all along.

  3. I definitely was not a fan of this book.

    I think that a component of "feminism" should be allowing women to choose what they want to do with their lives...

    If you want to be a workaholic, great. If you want to climb mountains or pursue a career that isn't a typically "female" profession or mainstream, great. If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, great. I think all of these options are viable today and women should stop beating each other up.

    I completely agree with your assessment of the ending feeling rushed.

  4. The ending feeling "open and empty" are the prefect words to describe how I felt about it! I had enjoyed it (minus some April/ Feminism parts) but over all enjoyed it and then it just... ended. I know things can't always end with hugs and kisses- but I think I was hoping for more closure too.

  5. I totally agreed that the ending could have been a lot better. It ended so quickly and left me with a lot of unanswered questions.

    I agree with you in that I would have loved to have learned more about Celia. They didn't focus much on her, and I feel that the author could have shared so much more about her.

    As for what Kate said above, I never thought about Sally naming her baby after April. I might have been totally ticked off also if I named my baby after her and then found out it was all a scam.

    Can't wait to see what the next book is going to be!

  6. I felt like the second part of the book really focused a lot on Bree and her relationship with Lara. I also became bored with her character and tried to hurry through her chapters. Bree's character never quite seemed believable to me; she was one way at the beginning of college and then at the end she had done a complete 180. How many people do that? I would have liked to have learned more about Celia as well. Does she finish her novel and does it get published? Does she move from NYC? ...

    As for the theme of feminism throughout the book, one of the characters (I think it was Sally) brought up an interesting point. She said that her generation of women was the first to really have all choices open to them. The problem was that with so many choices a lot of women didn't know what to choose. I could relate to that, and I know some of my friends have struggled with that too. It's a good "problem" to have, but it can be overwhelming at times :)

  7. Whats the next book we will be reading?

  8. I've been following this blog since November and have been dying for the next book to start! Please let it be soon!