Saturday, March 29, 2014

Commencement {A Book Review}

Title : Commencement
Author: J. Courtney Sullivan
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Summary from GoodReads:

A sparkling debut novel: a tender story of friendship, a witty take on liberal arts colleges, and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose.

Assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn’t have less in common. Celia, a lapsed Catholic, arrives with her grandmother’s rosary beads in hand and a bottle of vodka in her suitcase; beautiful Bree pines for the fiancĂ© she left behind in Savannah; Sally, pristinely dressed in Lilly Pulitzer, is reeling from the loss of her mother; and April, a radical, redheaded feminist wearing a “Riot: Don’t Diet” T-shirt, wants a room transfer immediately.

Together they experience the ecstatic highs and painful lows of early adulthood: Celia’s trust in men is demolished in one terrible evening, Bree falls in love with someone she could never bring home to her traditional family, Sally seeks solace in her English professor, and April realizes that, for the first time in her life, she has friends she can actually confide in.

When they reunite for Sally’s wedding four years after graduation, their friendships have changed, but they remain fiercely devoted to one another. Schooled in the ideals of feminism, they have to figure out how it applies to their real lives in matters of love, work, family, and sex. For Celia, Bree, and Sally, this means grappling with one-night stands, maiden names, and parental disapproval—along with occasional loneliness and heartbreak. But for April, whose activism has become her life’s work, it means something far more dangerous.

Written with radiant style and a wicked sense of humor, Commencementnot only captures the intensity of college friendships and first loves, but also explores with great candor the complicated and contradictory landscape facing young women today

“These fucking women really piss me off,' April said. 'Because instead of being elated by the thought of making their own happiness and chasing some crazy dream, all they want to do is narrow their options and do something safe.” 

“Every woman needs secrets,' her mother said with a smile then, her eyes meeting Sally's in the rearview mirror. 'Remember that when you're old like me, pumpkin, because the world has a way of making a woman's life everyone else's business--you have to dig out a little place that's only yours.” 

My Take:
I enjoy reading books that revolve around friendship. I'm the type of person who would do anything for her friends. My friends especially my college friends have seen me at my worst. And I am so grateful  that they came into my life when they did. Sometimes I wonder what our friendship would become once we get older, have our careers and get married, start a family. It is scary, to think we might not be that close. 

I love reading book about friendships, especially friendships later on in life, because it makes me realize although it is fiction, that friends will always be there. 

Commencement was one of those books. I immediately related to it, because the characters seemed to real. They are just starting their lives after graduating, each of them struggling with something different, something that as a "recent" grad am struggling to.  I also liked that author wrote the story in each of the characters perspective, making it that much more real. The women were witty and smart and crazy, sometimes for their own good, which made the story that much better. They dealt with all kinds of things in their life. 

Their friendship reminded me of the friendship that I have with my friends, and I guess what I want our friendship to look like. The four of them, Celia, Bree, Sally and April became the bestest of friends those first few months of college. They have shared tears, laughs, drunken nights, dreams, beliefs, disagreements, and secrets with each other. They practically know each other like as if they were sisters. 

I liked reading each of their chapters and catching a glimpse of what they were like individually and with each other. When their story takes a crazy turning point, I cried. The pod was breaking. But that sadness quickly turned into hurt and anger the very last chapter.  I just couldn't believe something like that would happen. 

It was fun, and witty, and crazy and smart. I enjoyed it, except for the last part. Please, don't be a curious monkey and skip to the last part.. hehe I promise you, you will love it even more if you read it from beginning to end.

Do you have a group of friends/family members/people that you can't imagine living without?
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1 comment:

  1. sounds like a good book Adri.


    now at


I would love to hear your thoughts!! :)