Buckle up boys and girls, I could talk about this book for literally forever so I have no idea how long this review will end up being. I could start here by saying that this book literally changed my life and launch into five or six paragraphs about how grateful I am for it, but I’ll try and avoid that and just actually review the book.
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
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.
“I just liked girls because I couldn’t help not to.”
Content warning: drug use, underage drinking, homophobia and homophobic slurs, conversion therapy, self harm
I feel like I should start out this review by saying that while I love this book with my entire heart and it helped me so so much with a lot of things, I completely understand that the content is not something everyone can handle. If homophobia or conversion therapy is something that triggers or upsets you, don’t read this book. Take care of yourselves, friends.
Let’s Chat: Plot
This book does not have a full on plot, it more so just follows Cameron as she goes through life. Its a coming of age story, we all know how those go at this point. This book is divided into three parts, so I am going to attempt to break down my thoughts about each part without spoilers.
Part One: Summer 1989
Part one is super short, only about 70 pages. It is mainly about the summer in which Cameron loses her parents and has a short middle school fling with Irene Klauson. Given that it is about the summer Cameron is orphaned, it is fairly sad, but it also covers all of the good things about that summer as well. It was fun to see her and Irene be kids and mess around and try to figure out things about themselves.
Part Two: High School 1991-1992
Part two and I have a love/hate relationship. This is arguably the happiest part of the book, which is saying something given that its not all that happy. This is when Cameron meets Lindsey and Coley and joins the track team and gets her first job and all of that fun stuff. I really enjoy watching Cameron grown throughout this portion of the book, I enjoy seeing how she is adjusting to living with her aunt and all of the other things life has thrown at her.
Part Three: God’s Promise 1992-1993
Part three is the part that the book is known for, when Cameron is sent to conversion therapy when she will be able to grow closer to God and “repress her sinful homosexual desires.” Given that this portion takes place in a conversion therapy school, it is a lot to handle. It gets pretty dark at points and it is just plain overwhelming, so once again, if that’s something that would bother you please don’t read this book. I personally have a really hard time with this part because my family is very Christian and very not accepting and I have heard the things said by the faculty at the school said to some extent or another and it is a lot to get through.
Even though this part is dark and very sad, there are also some happier moments and Cameron creates a type of found family with some of the other students that is really sweet and one of my favorite parts of the book.
Let’s Chat: Characters
I honestly don’t know where to start when it comes to talking about Cam. I love her so so so much, her and her story have done so much for me its hard for me to objectively comment on her character, so I’m not really going to try. Just know that I love her a lot and her story breaks my heart sometimes.
I don’t really have much to say about Irene other than I really like how she was included and how Cameron thinks about her fairly often even after they haven’t been friends for a while. Irene’s presence truly shows how a person can mean almost everything to you as a child and then almost nothing years later.
Oh, Lindsey. She is a lot. I enjoyed seeing her and Cam be friends and communicate via letters and care packages, I found that really sweet (most of the time at least). I also enjoy just how confident she is about who she is, it is honestly really admirable especially when you think about the world she would have been living in at the time.
I have a love/hate relationship with Coley Taylor. I hate the way she reacted to certain situations and blamed Cam for everything, but I also understand where she was coming from if that makes any sense at all. I also really like her in the beginning of part two, she is really sweet and funny and pretty and I totally get why Cameron had a mega crush on her. I wish she had reacted differently so I could gush about how I still love her but I can’t so that sucks.
Jane is really iconic and I love her, I love how supportive she is and how she helped Cam through some really rough times. I wish we got to know more about her than we did because her life seems really interesting to say the least.
I really really really wish we had gotten to know more about Adam and his culture, his whole story seems very interesting and I wish him and Cam would have talked more about it. He seems like a great friend to have and once again, he was just so good with Cam, I love him a lot.
Let’s Chat: Favorite Quotes
“There is no rule that says you have to stay in the place that you’re born. It’s not like it makes you a bad person if you want to try something new.”
“The world is really big outside of Miles city.”
“Just because you can handle something doesn’t mean its good for you.”
“Maybe I still haven’t become me. I don’t know how you tell for sure when you finally have.”
Let’s Chat: Overall Thoughts
If you weren’t aware by now, my name is Arin and this book is my favorite book of all time. It helped me realize I’m gay for one, which is pretty life changing. It has also helped me realize how bad my internalized homophobia is (we love growing up in a very religious and non accepting community) how much I need to work on that and work on accepting and loving myself. Given all that, this book is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. I’ll repeat my mantra again here though, don’t read this book if you’re sensitive to these topics, it gets very heavy and very dark and it is a lot to handle.
Anyways, I love Cam Post and will forever be grateful for all this book has done for me.