Set in rural Montana in the early 1990s, Emily M. Danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a powerful and widely acclaimed YA coming-of-age novel in the tradition of the classic Annie on My Mind.
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.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and provocative literary debut that was a finalist for the YALSA Morris Award and was named to numerous “best” lists.
©2012 Emily M. Danforth (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I was slightly hesitant to read The Miseducation of Cameron Post. The synopsis sounded like a cliche "orphaned girl, likes girls, gets sent to anti-gay school, learns hard lessons" tragedy. I had gotten a little dismayed that so many of the LGBT young adult novels that I've read have been very doom and gloom and didn't really want to read another downer (can't there be a happy ending and maybe a less tragic love story for these protagonists?). Having heard some of the horrific stories of ex-gay/de-gaying camps, I was really concerned this would be a focal point for the book and I really wasn't interested in that storyline.
I needed a long book to listen to on a long drive so I decided to go for it since the duration would be just about perfect for the whole trip.
It took me a little while to really get a feeling for the flow and structure of the book but the story was certainly engaging from the start. The language used was really fantastic and largely felt authentic, though there were moments that didn't feel quite right, but they were few and far between.
I was pleasantly surprised that there was a lot of time spent learning about Cameron and watching her her loves (or lusts) develop over the years and it wasn't largely about her experiences at "God's Promise" (and these experiences were far from the physically abusive scenarios that are sometimes connected to ex-gay camps). Some of the story lines I'd wish had been expanded upon but it was a really nice listen (and I ultimately actually got the book to read a second time).
Beth Laufer did a nice job telling this story--her timber and tone were so pleasant to listen to and the various characters were voiced really nicely.
I was not in love with the ending of the book--it just felt like the author rudely left me hanging, but it wasn't so offensive that it ruined the book for me. I still really enjoyed the book, though it wasn't one of the books that left me thinking about it for days, weeks, and months afterward (if I could have given 3.5 stars, that would probably be more accurate of a rating).
I loved Cameron's relationships with the girls in her life, and the development she showed in those relationships. However, the character of Cameron herself never truly developed in her emotional or intellectual capacity. Or, at least, the audience never really gets to see/hear that development, which is weird because it's told in a first-person perspective. Cameron never changes in the book. She is the same person at the start of the story as she is in the end. There is more development and change in the peripheral character of Jamie than there is in Cameron.
The narrator was difficult to listen to at times, because I didn't feel she captured the essence of the character of Cameron. Also, the emphasis she put on words like "just" and "maybe" was terribly grating. And, since I'm from eastern Montana, it was really irritating to hear her mispronounce town names. Forsyth=FOUR-SCYTHE. Kearney=CARN-EE. Probably the most irritating part of the narration was that characters were practically indecipherable. Lydia was supposed to have an English accent, which was largely absent from the reading, and when she did try to have the accent, it was truly awful.
Yes, so long as we actually saw some emotional development in Cameron, and as long as part 3 was speeded up a bit.
I love great descriptions, and Danforth did an amazing job with the descriptions of the Montana landscape and weather. Montana became its own character in the story, and I loved that. However, this same fascination with description was also Danforth's Achilles Heel. There was a part wherein Cameron is imagining what it will be like when a character receives a phone call. The various descriptions of places and scenarios in which he receives this phone call is described in excruciating detail and for far too long, particularly when it serves absolutely no purpose. I was literally yelling at my car radio to STFU.
I really liked this story overall but the ending felt unresolved and left me rather unfulfilled. Also, I didn't care for the narrator. The personality of the narrator and the "voice" of Cameron just didn't seem to match to me. Normally, with a good narrator, you'd swear they were the author with the way that they just become the voice of the character(s) but in this case it was like you just pulled a random stranger off the street to read it to you.
up in the 10%
This novel's language and story is brought to life by this narrator. I throughly enjoy the performance and story. Lesbian novels that are well written are hard to come by, i look forward to more of this genre from audible in the future.
Great story. I would have loved to know more about certain characters, but overall the book was satisfying. However, the narrator is not good. Why would you get someone with a NY accent to narrate the life of a girl from rural Montana? There was no emotion in the reading, like a bored teacher reading aloud to her students.
I enjoyed the book, it made interesting reading to realise how people within the church want to remove such sin and how reality is that we are not 'cured' just learning to give lip service to those that are not prepared to listen but push their beliefs onto another.
"Way better than other's in this genre"
This was an excellent read. The narrator and the story combined to make this a five star read, in what is often a tired and limpid genre; the lesbian themed novel.
The main character was written with great pluck, defiance and good humor and the narrator brought a lightness of touch and a warmth to her that made the story glide smoothly along through the darker aspects of the story. It really was a lovely read, and I could have listened to much, much more of Cameron Post. I was disappointed when it was over, and the book remained with me for a long time (I'm read it nearly a year ago now).
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