I’ve decided to join in the fun over at Book Beginnings and Book Ends. It’s an online book club where they read a book and then answer questions. It’s been so fun to read everyone’s answers. Check it out!
The book right now is Commencement, by J. Courtney Sullivan. These are my answers to part one. (Hint: if you want to read the book, you might not want to read this part.)
1. Which girl do you identify the most with?
I’m gonna cheat and say that the one that I don’t identify with at all is April. I admire her for really wanting to change the world and not being able to push those important issues from her mind. I’m really just not like that. The other three all have aspects that I can relate to: Celia for the way she missed home when she went to college, Bree for going off to college in a long distance relationship, and Sally for being the first of her friends to get married.
2. If you’re a college student or graduate, what similarities or differences do you see between this story to your own college experience?
I can relate to the way that these girls have bonded. I’ve made a lot of great friendships at college, particularly in my first year of living in dorms. However, it’s mentioned several times that they have a tendency to mother each other, and me and my friends are not like that. We look out for each other, but I think my friends and I wanted to be a little more independent.
I go to a co-ed state school, so there is not nearly as strong of a focus on feminism, and barely any focus on lesbianism. Those things both exist at my school, but they are one section of the many different kinds of people and beliefs. I thought it was interesting how much of those two things were focused on in the book so far; I really was not expecting that when I started the book. However, my school does have a ton of old traditions so I could totally relate to the feelings of camaraderie amongst classmates.
3. Which girl do you think has changed the most since her time in college? In what ways has she changed?
I think Bree has changed the most. In college, she was happy in her relationship because she was able to be sheltered from the outside world. Now she has to face a lot of prejudice about her relationship, most painfully from her family. She seems deflated and frustrated in life, which was not a vibe I got about her when she was at Smith. I also think she is having trouble reconciling the difference between her self-image and where she thinks her life is headed, which would be confusing. I thought her chapter was really heartbreaking and eye-opening. No one should have to choose between their family and their significant other.
It took me a little bit to get into this book, but I’m really enjoying it now. Although, I have to say that I was disappointed in the way Part 1 ended. However, I did like the part where Celia discussed each girl’s relationship with her mother. I really want Sally’s marriage to work out, and I’m hoping that the ominous ending to Part 1 isn’t indicating that it won’t. I’m interested to see where the book is headed now.
It took me a while to get into the book, too – mostly because I couldn't really relate to the girls or their experience that much at all. I stuck with it though and now I'm really excited to see what happens.
Also, I agree with your assessment of Bree. I've been in a position where I had to choose between family and a significant other. My situation was different (and my family was right), but I still felt as if I was in a difficult situation and was misunderstood.