Book Review: Commencement


J Courtney Sullivan


336 pages

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time.  I don’t usually go for chick lit, but this seemed to have more of a literary quality to it so I decided to go for it.

Commencement is the story of four college friends: April, Bree, Sally and Celia.  All four girls have different personalities and backgrounds but they are all housed together during their freshman year at Smith. 

Bree is a sheltered girl who comes to Smith at her mom’s urgings.  She is engaged at first but eventually breaks off her relationship with her hometown love and ventures in to a lesbian relationship.  She is deally with her family’s unhappiness with her sexuality.

Celia made the least memorable impression on me.  She seemed kind of conventional at first but by the time she had been out of college for a few years and living in New York, she seemed more reckless.

April was the radical one who took on every cause.  After college, she can working for Smith alum Ronnie who made it her mission in life to expose the cruelties that women face around the world.  She let her mission dictate her life, regardless of the fact that she was often put in dangerous situations, not to mention that a lot of the time she was exploiting the women she was trying to protect.

Sally has a lot of southern charm but she is really devestated at the loss of her mother and begins to grasp on to anyone that will connect with her.

The girls go through the same ups and downs any female friendships go through.  I was glad I hadn’t read the Amazon reviews beforehand because some of them were brutal.  Many reviewers took offence to the fact that Commencement was given a positive review by the NY Times.  I will agree that Commencement isn’t the worthiest book ever written but it’s a fun look at female friendships.  I felt that it was such a great alternative to typical chick lit.  I would definitely recommend it.

Book Review:

Book Addiction

Dog-Eared and Well-read

Bailey’s and Books

S Krishna’s Books

I borrowed this book from my local library.

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for this review – I saw this book a few months ago in B&N and it has been on my wishlist since then.

  2. I don’t know much about this book, but it’s gotten fairly positive reviews from what I’ve seen. I hope to get around to it soon. I tend to enjoy tales of women’s friendship and books about higher education. Thanks!

  3. I quite enjoyed Commencement, having read it when it first came out. Certainly not the best thing ever written, but some of the points resonated enough that I still remember them months later (I went to an all-girls school and found the portrayl of an all-female environment very familiar, far more than other books with similar settings). I think the ending, specifically April’s dramatic storyline, was far too much for a book that, until then, had dealt with relatively normal conflicts.

  4. Thanks for the review, never read it ,might try it.

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