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Summary and book reviews of The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

by Emily M. Danforth

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2012, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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About this Book

Book Summary

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

When Cameron Post's parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief she'll never have to tell them that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief soon turns to heartbreak, as Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and not making waves, and Cam becomes an expert at this - especially at avoiding any questions about her sexuality.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. To Cam's surprise, she and Coley become best friends - while Cam secretly dreams of something more. Just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, her secret is exposed. Ultra-religious 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 quite sure who that is.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

Ages 14+

Excerpt: The Miseducation Of Cameron Post

Sometime in late September Irene Klauson came to school with the kind of smile kids wear in peanut-butter commercials. She and her dad had been out building on their new corral and branding area. Irene said she was the one working the shovel when they first found it. A bone. A fossil. Something big.

"My dad's already called some professor he knows at Montana State," she told a few of us who were clustered around her locker. "They're sending out a whole team."

Within weeks scientists, "paleontologists," Irene would remind us, sounding like our fucking science book, had swarmed all over the Klausons' cattle ranch. The paper called it a hotbed for specimen recovery. A gold mine. A treasure trove.

Irene and I hadn't seen each other much since our robot-hug at my parents' funeral in June. Mrs. Klauson kept trying to arrange sleepovers and day trips to the mall in Billings, to a rodeo in Glendive, but I would back out at the last minute. ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Cameron spends the entirety of the novel making connections; walking slowly forward and then looping back to weave bits of her history with her present and, ultimately, with her future. This spiraling movement is an engaging and compelling process; one most definitely worth participating in. I highly recommend this book to both YA and adult readers alike.   (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).

Full Review Members Only (632 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Danforth's story gains even more complexity and dimension [in the second half] further developing the political, religious, and coming-of-age themes introduced in the first half.

Booklist

Starred Review. [An] ambitious literary novel, a multidimensional coming-of-age.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Rich with detail and emotion, a sophisticated read for teens and adults alike.

Author Blurb Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning author of After Tupac and D Foster and Hush
A beautifully told story that is at once engaging and thoughtful. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is an important book - one that can change lives.

Author Blurb Sarah Waters, author of The Little Stranger
Danforth's narrative of a bruised young woman finding her feet in a complicated world is a tremendous achievement: Strikingly unsentimental, and full of characters who feel entirely rounded and real. A story of love, desire, pain, loss - and, above all, of survival. An inspiring read.

Author Blurb Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of Prep and American Wife
If Holden Caulfield had been a gay girl from Montana, this is the story he might have told - it's funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully rendered. Emily Danforth remembers exactly what it's like to be a teenager, and she has written a new classic.

Author Blurb Nancy Garden, author of Annie on my Mind
This novel is a joy - one of the best and most honest portraits of a young lesbian I've read in years - lively, funny, brash, and oh, so true! An absorbing, suspenseful, and important book.

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Beyond the Book

Conversion Therapy

Two thirds of the way through The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Cam's aunt sends her away to God's Promise: a Christian School and Center for Healing. Its mission is to help "adolescents yearning to break free from the bonds of sexual sin and confusion by welcoming Jesus Christ into their lives." How does God's Promise achieve what it purports to do? Through a kind of therapy called "conversion therapy."

Conversion therapy (also known as reparative therapy) is a formal attempt to change a gay person's sexual orientation, from homosexuality to heterosexuality. The conversion methods can include one-on-one counseling, group counseling, prayer, exorcisms, and gender modeling activities to name a few. (It is crucial to note that there is no...

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