Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author: Emily M. Danforth
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 485 Pages
Published February 2012

Summary: When Cameron Post's parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they'll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn't last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both. Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship--one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to "fix" her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self--even if she's not exactly sure who that is.

I managed to convince my college's creative writing club to select Cameron Post as our Fall 2018 book club pick, and I'm glad that I did, because not only does it tie in perfectly with the recent release of the movie, but I got to enjoy a really great story and share it with 20+ other awesome, interesting students. So without further ado, let's get into the review!

As the summary explains, Cameron Post has been having a difficult life. After losing both of her parents in a tragic accident, she finds herself living with her grandmother and her ultra-religious, conservative aunt. On top of that, Cameron realizes that she isn't interested in boys, and that proves to be a problem when she messes around with the wrong girl -- the girl that turns her in and gets her sent away to a "gay conversion" Christian camp. So this story follows Cameron's life, from the moment she loses her parents to her time spent struggling through this camp.

I definitely enjoyed reading this book, and it definitely covered a lot of important topics. While it was certainly hard to read at times (the things that were done/said, especially in regards to LGBTQIAP+ issues, were tough to hear), but I think it was necessary for me to experience as a reader in order to truly understand the magnitude of what Cameron was up against.

My favorite character in this book was definitely Jamie. Even though he had his moments where he was problematic and Cameron had to put him in his place, he seemed like a reliable, kind friend that was there for her when she was going through some of her hardest times. Most of the interactions between the two of them left me smiling and reminding me of when I used to horse around with some of my best friends, and that's why he was definitely my favorite. Cameron's grandma was also pretty great, too!

(Minor spoilers in this parahgraph!) A character that I wasn't a huge fan of was Coley, especially when she sells out Cameron and gets her sent to Promise. She sold her out and then got away with looking like the innocent victim, and we never really find out what happens to her after that, or if Cameron ever confronts her again, let alone sees her. Which was frustrating as a reader, but I can understand why Emily Danforth may have decided that wasn't a part of the story worth acknowledging anymore. 

There were a few things I wasn't crazy about in the book, mainly the entire part of the book at Promise. That wasn't anything on Emily Danforth's end, though -- the place just gave me the creeps and it made me really sad to see Cameron have to suffer through all of the bullshit the leaders were spewing. That's part of the reason I'm a bit weary of religion, because even though this book is set in the eighties and nineties, I can definitely name a handful of people I know that still have those views, which makes the book reach across generations and give you that uncomfortable twinge, even now.

The only other thing I wasn't crazy about with this book was how there were some pretty large time jumps throughout the story where some pretty important events were just glossed over and summed up. (For example. the wedding.) Some of those things were built up to in the story and seemed like they were going to be important to the plot, and then they were quickly looked over, so that got a little bit frustrating after a few occurrences. However, just because I wasn't crazy about these parts doesn't mean that this wasn't a good book, or that you may have the same issues with it that I did, so I still encourage you to pick up this book and give it a try!

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and I'm really glad that we chose this for our book club pick this semester. This book covers so many important topics, which I already talked about a little bit above, and it held my attention from the beginning all the way until the end. If you haven't read this book yet, I definitely encourage you to pick it up -- and then watch the movie! Speaking of that, I can't wait to pop some popcorn and sit down and watch it

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