Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author: Emily M. Danforth
Page count: 470 pages (paperback)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 4/5 stars
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.
But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship–one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self–even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.
With summer having been dropped on us just like that here in the Netherlands (we went from snow and hailstorms to 20+ degrees Celsius and blue skies within the span of one week. I wish I was kidding), it’s a good time to read those relaxed, summery books. You know, the lighter ones that are set in summer and that are usually about romance and/or family.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is one of those books. It’s very summery, very countryside-US, and an interesting almost-bildungsroman. (I say ‘almost’, because it only spans a couple of years. )
Overall it was mostly an alright book. I was interested, but it felt strangely academic while I was reading it. I can’t really explain it, but I felt very distant from the book. I remember I kept thinking to myself “this might be a good book to use in schools in LGBT education or literature class”, because it’s just that kind of book. I can see it becoming a classic of some sort, but to me it definitely feels like a book to be studied instead of just enjoyed for the story.
One thing I really didn’t like though, was the ending.While I do understand the ending, and I see the significance, to me it also felt too abrupt. I would’ve liked to see the story continue, or at least have an epilogue of some sort. But then, I’m also the type of person who likes it when stories are all neatly round up. No such luck with this book. There’s closure, yes, and in terms of character development an incredibly important one. But also, I just didn’t like it.
Still, The Miseducation of Cameron Post gives an interesting view of lesbian life in small-town southern US. It’s a story I can’t relate to in any way, despite being queer and from a small town, which actually strangely upset me. Usually that’s the appeal, to read something that’s different from myself. But this time? I don’t know.
Either way, it didn’t particularly blow me away, though I can definitely see the appeal. 4 out of 5 stars, though I might adjust the rating downwards later. I can see how this book can be important to a lot of people, and how important it can be for the LGBTQ+ community in general. But it also wasn’t really for me.
(I’m going to add a sidenote here, and mention that my reading & writing slump was starting around the same time I was reading this book. I struggled quite a bit, and the next couple of books really put the nail in the coffin, so to speak. This might be why I remember it more negatively than it actually was! There has to be a reason why I gave it 4 stars back then, after all.
I’m also going to add here that I am very, veeeeery slowly crawling my way out of this massive slump. Sorry for the continued absence!)