Sunday, July 1, 2018

Book Review: Sorority

Author: Genevieve Sly Crane
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Sisterhood is forever…whether you like it or not.

Prep meets Girls in White Dresses in Genevieve Sly Crane’s deliciously addictive, voyeuristic exploration of female friendship and coming of age that will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about what happens in a sorority house.

Twinsets and pearls, secrets and kinship, rituals that hold sisters together in a sacred bond of everlasting trust. Certain chaste images spring to mind when one thinks of sororities. But make no mistake: these women are not braiding each other’s hair and having pillow fights—not by a long shot.

What Genevieve Sly Crane has conjured in these pages is a blunt, in your face look behind the closed doors of a house full of contemporary women—and there are no holds barred. These women have issues: self-inflicted, family inflicted, sister-to-sister inflicted—and it is all on the page. At the center of this swirl is Margot: the sister who died in the house, and each chapter is told from the points of view of the women who orbit her death and have their own reactions to it.

With a keen sense of character and elegant, observant prose, Crane details the undercurrents of tension in a world where perfection comes at a cost and the best things in life are painful—if not impossible—to acquire: Beauty. A mother’s love. And friendship… or at least the appearance of it. Woven throughout are glimmers of the classical myths that undercut the lives of women in Greek life. After all, the Greek goddesses did cause their fair share of destruction. 

There a too many characters in this book to name them all, so let me explain how the characters are showcased and how I felt about the characterization. Readers are first introduced to the sisters of this sorority house in the first chapter. A brief description of each room in the house and the sister who lives in it is given that gives readers a teaser of what is to come. We also find out in the first chapter that Margot, one of the sisters, is dead. You get just a brief look into how each girl lives and the small snippet that Crane gives in these meager paragraphs is enough to hook any reader. 

Many of the sorority sisters do not have more than one chapter dedicated to them. Some of them don’t even have one chapter but just show up randomly. The story of each girl’s past and sometimes future is explained in a detailed manner in her respective chapter in the novel. While I loved reading the girl’s sometimes very messed up and disturbed backstories, I found myself wanting more. There were too many characters to follow and keep up with and some of them did not have a very strong connection at all to the deceased sister, Margot. I felt that more of the stories should have surrounded Margot’s death.

This book should come with trigger warnings – BIG TIME! Domestic abuse, self-harm, pregnancy/contemplating abortion, drug abuse, and animal abuse. Crane has a fast-paced writing style; her words are like honey – easy to follow, smooth, and sweet. You will be hooked from the first page, but she covers topics and themes that are sometimes hard to read. Her writing is real and raw – enter at your own risk.

I first believed this book to be a thriller, but it is more about life, mistakes, second chances, family and family issues, and mostly friendship and the idea of sisterhood. Like I said, her writing covers some honest, moving and much need issues in today’s society.

Crane is a debut author and one whose work I will follow. While I did not rate this debut novel a full five stars, I know her work is only going to improve. Her style and flow is so smooth and the words just fly off the page. It took me no time at all to get through this sometimes heart-wrenching story – these are the types of novels that we need more of. Please go and check this book out – it is a perfect summer read.

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