that selfie looked better on my phone: the novel
[image description: the cover of The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m danforth]
Do you ever want to curl up inside a book forever? The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Cameron Post feels a mix of guilt and relief when her parents die in a car accident. Their deaths mean they will never learn the truth she eventually comes to—that she’s gay. Orphaned, Cameron comes to live with her old-fashioned grandmother and ultraconservative aunt Ruth. There she falls in love with her best friend, a beautiful cowgirl. When she’s eventually outed, her aunt sends her to God’s Promise, a religious conversion camp that is supposed to “cure” her homosexuality. At the camp, Cameron comes face to face with the cost of denying her true identity.
-sighs heavily and runs fingers over the cover of the book-
My friends, let me tell you about good books. There are many ways for a book to be good. Maybe it is a book with a wonderful story, a plot that takes you and runs. Maybe it is a book with themes that change how you see the world, filtering reality in beautiful ways. Maybe it is a book with characters to alive that they invite you over for tea in your head at times.
Then there are books were each word on the page makes you feel like you’ve come home. Where the narration itself weaves a blanket around you, spins gold into your brain. Those books were, even if nothing much is happening, you are happy to simply be reading those words strung together like silver threads. Books you want to live inside. Books that could be a thousand pages long and not be long enough.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post feels like one of those books to me. I never wanted to stop reading it. I wanted to curl up inside its pages and fall asleep in those words. And it’s hard to explain why, truly.
The story itself is straight forward. The day after Cameron kisses her best friend, her parents die in a car accident. Orphaned just as she begins to realize her sexuality and affection for girls, she begins a true coming of age journey. She lives with her conservative aunt in her conservative town. She falls in and out of lust and affection with the other young girls in her life.
Parts of this book feel like a love story, but it as a whole, is not one. It is a story about a girl and her life and who she is and how she figures all of that out.
And…I love it? Like, can I say that enough? I love it.
I love Cameron. I love her story, her voice. I love the straight forward exploration of grief and love. I love her simple and unadorned expression of her feelings. I love how true she is to herself. I love how, even when people around her try to make her a victim, try to make her feel horrible about who she is, she continues on, being herself the only way she knows how. I love that.
I think it’s so important to have queer narratives that are more than just tragedy and love stories, but complex and multi-faceted and end on a hopeful note like this one.
If I were to criticize it, I’d say that there isn’t much care paid to bisexuality/pansexuality (as I don’t believe either are ever actually mentioned) and PoC are minimal (There is a Native American character later in the book who identifies as Two Spirit. He’s really cool. But not much else beside him.)
But honestly, when the book was over, I wanted to keep reading. Forever.
You want some CLASSIC queer lit? Some well loved, and rightly so, queer lit that has earned the acclaim it has? Try this book. Really.
do you ever just want to listen to the same song for a week or maybe two