The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: February 7th 2012
Synopsis: 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.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a beautiful novel that will slowly draw you in (and at some point, make you lose your sense of time) with its carefully painted picture of a small town in Montana, the genuine feel of summer that it radiates, and the lovingly told story that is between the covers. This book is honest, so honest that I couldn’t help but find it stunning.
“There was more than just one other world beyond ours; there were hundreds and hundreds of them, and at 99 cents apiece I could rent them all.”
Upon finding out that her parents have died in a car crash, Cameron Post feels relief. She feels relieved because her parents will never know that she had been kissing a girl named Irene hours earlier. Not too long after that unfortunate day, Cameron’s religious Aunt Ruth moves in to live with Cameron and her old-fashioned grandmother. It is then that Cameron realizes that she will have to blend in. And she does.
But then Coley Taylor, a beautiful and perfect cowgirl, arrives in the town Cameron resides in. Coley and Cameron end up creating a strong friendship– a friendship that becomes a relationship that steps on the border between friendship and Something More. The chances of Something More happening, however, are snatched away when Aunt Ruth finds out about Cameron’s being lesbian and sends her off to a de-gaying camp called God’s Promise, so Cameron can be lead away from the “wrong path”.
Danforth fantastically tells Cameron’s story in a honest way. The story never felt preachy, dragged on, or showy. The author has created a story where a person can slowly float along to her lovely words and experience the natural, pure emotions that the novel depicts.
The slow pacing of The Miseducation of Cameron Post was perfect, giving time for the reader to soak up the emotions, which can go from happiness, to sadness, to anger (I was furious when Cameron was told that her feelings were a sin), and clutch onto every single moment. It does take quite a while for the story to progress, and this may displease some readers, but I really loved that about this novel. It felt very right.
Cameron Post is not a flawless person. She steals, drinks, and smokes marijuana. She acts out and makes mistakes. And she felt real. I paused many times after I finished a chapter and just thought about how perfectly and honestly Danforth was able to write Cameron. I could really understand why Cameron does what she does and I felt the emotions that she felt all the way through the end.
I also found it wrenching to read about the other characters, like Mark Turner. His conflicts and story were absolutely painful to read. The Miseducation of Cameron Post really makes a person think about the terrible repercussions that happen when people try to “fix” things that they believe to be wrong when, in fact, they really aren’t.
This novel isn’t used to shove a message in the faces of its readers. It merely shows the story of Cameron and what she (and many other people) go through. And what a emotional, thought-provoking story it is. Things like sex and drug-use are depicted in this novel so I would recommend The Miseducation of Cameron Post to the more mature audience of the Young Adult genre, but even if the story contains some mature topics, I believe it to be a beautiful piece of work.
Deleted scene of the novel can be read here.