Sunday, 12 July 2015

Review: Bennington Girls Are Easy by Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver dazzles with a ruefully funny coming-of-age novel that follows two recent Bennington grads who are determined to make it in the Big Apple.

Bennington College, founded in 1932 as a suitable refuge for the wayward daughters of good families, maintains its saucy reputation for attracting free spirits. There, acres outnumber students, the faculty is composed of fading hippie and clothing is largely optional. Or, as J. D. Salinger put it in Franny and Zooey: a Bennington-type “looked like she’d spent the whole train ride in the john, sculpting or painting or something, or as though she had a leotard on under her dress.”

Cassandra Puffin and Sylvie Furst met in high school but cement what they ardently believe will be everlasting friendship on Bennington’s idyllic Vermont campus. Graduation sees Sylvie moving to New York City, where, later on their twenties, Cassandra joins her. These early, delirious years are spent decorating their Fort Greene apartment with flea market gems, dating “artists”, and trying to figure out what they’re doing with their lives.

The girls are acutely and caustically observant of the unique rhythms of the city but tone deaf to their own imperfections, which eventually drives a wedge between them. Equal parts heartfelt and hilarious, Bennington Girls Are Easy is a novel about female friendships—how with one word from a confidante can lift you up or tear you down—and how difficult it is to balance someone else’s devastatingly funny lapses in judgment with your own professional and personal missteps.

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Expected publication: July 14th 2015 by Doubleday 
Genre: Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

I always try to state the positive first when discussing a book but in the case of this book I couldn't really come up with a strong positive. In fact, I found many issues with the book and story and even when I tried to grasp I could not find the positive.

My issues were...

1. This book read like it took place back in the70's or 80's and I had to keep reminding myself that the characters graduated in 2003 and that the story took place after that.

2. There wasn't a single character in the entire book that was likeable. They were all shallow, selfish, spoiled, entitled, whiny, unintelligent and undeserving. Seriously, not one good character. Even the kids that were briefly in the book were awful. At first I thought that I just didn't like Sylvie but Cassandra turned out to be just as bad. I couldn't get behind either one of them and I just didn't care about their outcome which was a good thing because leads me into #3.

3. The story went absolutely nowhere in 272 pages other than to show how pathetic the main characters were. There was no real story to speak of unless you consider the reader discovering how truly awful the girls were a story. Even if you were able to grasp a plot within the pages there was absolutely no resolution to the plot. It just ended and my only words were "really??"

4. This was suppose to be a story of friendship? Really it was more a story of bitterness, self preservation and the lengths one would go to get what they want and the relationships that get slaughtered along the way. Also, as the title indicates, a story about how easy Bennington girls are. I'm certainly glad I didn't go to that school because this book does not paint a very good picture unless the real intent was to spoof it.

This  book was not for me. Normally I can find a few little silver linings but not with this book.

About the Author

A graduate of Bennington College, CHARLOTTE SILVER is the author of Charlotte au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood, and the YA novel, The Summer Invitation

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