Author: Genevieve Sly Crane
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Length: 288 pages
Available: 1 May 2018
“After all, she reasons, the best things in life are painful to acquire: beauty, her mother’s love. And sisterhood.”
While Sorority is dripping with all of the staples of Greek campus life—from eating disorders to hazing—Genevive Sly Crane has created anything but a typical college-based book. With each section told from a different sister’s, founder’s, or even a Greek chorus’s point of view, we are given a voyeuristic view of what goes on behind the closed doors of a sorority sister’s room.
What makes Sorority poignant and important isn’t the tackling of the issues expected on a college campus but the unflinching way each character looks at their transition into adulthood. Their connections with their fellow sisters are tenuous at best, but there’s a deeper longing: to feel grounded, to feel like they still belong, to prove that they’re not invisible in a world that would otherwise ignore them. Whether it’s the death of their fellow sister, or an invasion of visiting parents, the women in this sorority always pull themselves together. They do what needs to be done.
“I really wish I didn’t know how unextraordinary I am. Still, I feel weirdly superior towards the sisters that have maintained the delusions that they’re going to be something significant.”
Character-driven and open-ended, Sorority won’t be the easiest read for everyone. But, for me, it mirrors life that way and echoed collections like Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women. You get to glimpse into the real lives of women who were only brought together by the chance that they all pledged the same sorority. Their blemishes are on display, but Crane makes it clear that you won’t be able to judge these girls harder than they judge themselves.
Honestly, this book has been one of the best I’ve read all year. From a writer’s point of view, I learned a ton about voice, point of view, and how to use setting really well. Even though I didn’t find each character necessarily likable, I still connected to them. For me, that’s one of the most important ingredients of a great novel. Being able to fill a book with highlighted quotes is another. And believe me, this Kindle copy is full of highlighted lines. Picking just two for this review was really difficult.
For fans of Difficult Women, Big Little Lies, and Prep, Crane delivers a collection of women whose stories are need to find their way into your beach bag ASAP.