I recently read ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ by Emily Danforth after seeing the trailer for the film, which I think is now on Netflix! I couldn’t wait to write a review of this book, as I really enjoyed it and I think it has a lot of relevant, interesting themes that are prevalent even today.
‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ is about a young girl growing up in Montana in the 1980s. After the tragic death of her parents, she is raised by her grandmother and her religiously conservative Aunt Ruth, who means well, but often does not see eye to eye with her confused and rebellious niece.
Throughout the book, Cameron struggles to come to terms with her sexuality, feeling not only confusion about her sexual preferences, but also guilt as she begins to ‘experiment.’
From Cameron’s childhood friend, who teaches her how to kiss, to Coley Taylor, the popular girl at school who has an overwhelming seductive quality, Cameron soon realises that she is not like the girls she finds herself surrounded by.
While her Aunt Ruth pushes her to pursue a relationship with her best friend, Jamie, Cameron has the realisation that it is in fact Coley who she is in love with.
After Aunt Ruth finds out about Cameron’s love for Coley, she is shipped off to a gay conversion therapy centre. The young adults at this centre are seen as steering off the path set out for them by Jesus, and the centre aims to make them change their sexuality, and turn back into the ‘light.’
It is here that Cameron meets people just like her- blunt, funny, unafraid to express their sexuality and rebel.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I thought one of the most interesting parts of the book was the narrative perspective of Cameron. She was honest, open and never annoying in her narration.
I really felt like I got into Cameron’s head and understood her as a character and I enjoyed reading about how she explored and expressed her sexuality, even when she wasn’t too sure what she wanted.
I also really liked the prose style of this book, as it was straightforward and easy to read but also quite profound in places. The setting and atmosphere of the book was also really interesting.
I didn’t know anything about gay conversion therapy, and definitely didn’t expect centres such as the one in this book to be around in the 1980s and 1990s. The attitudes of the people in the book- even those that have previously identified as homosexual- are astounding, and the indoctrination at the centre was so intense, it was sometimes difficult to read about.
It was hard not to feel for Rick, so far into this lifestyle that it was hard to know if he was happy or not.
I also liked the setting of Montana. I didn’t know anything about this area, and I thought the descriptions Danforth used throughout the book were really interesting, and really set the scene.
When Cameron and her friends go exploring the old hospital, or run to the lake for a swim, Danforth really brought the reader into the story.
One thing I would say that confused me about this book was the converging storylines. Often, storylines were started and not developed, or different ideas converged.
For example, at the end of the book, the death of Cameron’s parents suddenly became much more important to her than her sexuality, whereas throughout the book it felt like her sexuality was a more important theme to explore and discuss, and so this sudden change in focus confused me a little.
Another thing that struck me while reading this book was the lack character development. For example, I thought that Erin was a really interesting character- but there was a friendship between herself and Cameron which was left unexplored.
Despite the aspects of the book I didn’t enjoy as much, overall I thought this book was honest and relevant. I think Danforth created an interesting perspective by using Cameron Post to narrate this novel, and I loved exploring her sexuality along with her, understanding her thoughts and feelings in her search to find out who she really is.
What do you think of my review of ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’? Are you a fan of young adult fiction? Have you read this book?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x