The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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 lif...

Title:The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0062020560
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:470 pages

The Miseducation of Cameron Post Reviews

  • Emily Crowe
    Aug 31, 2011

    This was a book that I *wanted* to like far more than I actually did. I'm a bookseller and I was hoping that this might be the contemporary title to hand to girls instead of (or in addition to) My Most Excellent Year or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, both of which are wonderful novels that feature boys who come out.

    ***************Spoiler Warning*********************

    One summer day, Cameron and her best friend Irene stave off boredom by shoplifting and making out with each other; later that night, C

    This was a book that I *wanted* to like far more than I actually did. I'm a bookseller and I was hoping that this might be the contemporary title to hand to girls instead of (or in addition to) My Most Excellent Year or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, both of which are wonderful novels that feature boys who come out.

    ***************Spoiler Warning*********************

    One summer day, Cameron and her best friend Irene stave off boredom by shoplifting and making out with each other; later that night, Cameron learns that both of her parents died in a car crash and her first thought is one of relief for not getting caught for either of those activities. Guilt kicks in, her religious Aunt Ruth moves in to take care of her, and Irene leaves for boarding school back East. Mostly Cameron fills her time with swim team and hanging out with a gang of boys drinking and smoking pot and doing mildly destructive things, but now she's also involved with a youth group in an ultra-conservative megachurch of Aunt Ruth's choosing. Then drop-dead gorgeous cowgirl Coley comes to town and Cameron falls in love with her; eventually they start making out every chance they get, which builds to one scene in particular,after which Coley reports Cameron to their pastor as an instigator and manipulator of unnatural sexual activity. Aunt Ruth sends Cameron away to a conservative Christian school where they basically try to pray the gay out of her. She loses her right to privacy and endures daily one-on-one sessions (later, group sessions) with the quasi-therapists at the school, but luckily she falls in with Jane and Adam who know how to talk the talk with their teachers without actually giving in to the brainwashing sessions. Something bad happens to one of the students. Then Cameron, Jane, and Adam escape. End of story. We have no actual idea of what happens to them after that point.

    ****************End of Spoiler***********************

    One of my biggest problem with this book is that I think it's overwritten to the tune of about 150 pages. Cameron just wasn't interesting enough and her "issues" just not compelling enough to draw out her story that much. I did a ton of skimming. I thought that the dialogue itself was pretty good, as were the passages of teen interactions. But I think the author does a disservice to her readers for not being more condemning of schools like the one to which Cameron was exiled. Not to mention the fact that Cameron herself doesn't seem to think that the place is all that bad. No, she doesn't like it, but she pretty regularly lets the therapists off the hook because she knows that they really *believe* that gayness is a sin that can be cured, and that didn't make sense to me considering the rage that Cameron is occasionally described as having but rarely shown to the reader.

    A smaller, more technical issue that I have with this book is that the publisher rates it for readers 14 and up, which is a pretty tough sell considering the very widespread drug use (true, it's "only" pot) and a couple of scenes that, while not described graphically, are pretty graphic nonetheless (in one of them, a distraught boy attempts to slash off his penis with a razor and then pours bleach on himself). Not many parents or librarians (or booksellers like me) will feel confident putting this book into the hands of 14 year olds, I suspect.

    But my biggest concern with this novel is that it doesn't make it clear enough that schools like the one Cameron is sent away to are unacceptable, full stop, no exceptions. And that, to me, is the most dangerous thing in this book.

  • Wendy Darling
    Feb 18, 2012

    If you were to lay out a visual storyboard for

    , it would be filled with lomographic photography--retro lighting, wide-open vistas, saturated colors, and quirky, sometimes blurry exposures that provide quick snapshots of the many small pleasures of childhood. This coming of age novel, which is written more like adult literary fiction than typical YA, beautifully captures the sun-drenched mood of summer as we meet Cameron, a young girl living in a small town in eas

    If you were to lay out a visual storyboard for

    , it would be filled with lomographic photography--retro lighting, wide-open vistas, saturated colors, and quirky, sometimes blurry exposures that provide quick snapshots of the many small pleasures of childhood. This coming of age novel, which is written more like adult literary fiction than typical YA, beautifully captures the sun-drenched mood of summer as we meet Cameron, a young girl living in a small town in eastern Montana in 1989.

    It's a pleasure to be lulled into the slow rhythm of the author's words and to enjoy the moments of stillness and spontaneity throughout the entire story. As the novel begins, Cameron's parents have gone off on their annual camping trip, and she's spending the summer with her best friend Irene, eating too-big scoops of ice cream and strawberry pretzel salad, freezing wet shirts to keep cool, telling stories, and watching the twilight creep over the town. There's a new awareness between the two girls, however, which floods Cameron with pleasure and confusion when things suddenly take an unexpected turn.

    Later, the girls talk about how they'd get in trouble if anyone found out.

    Shortly afterwards, Cameron's parents die in a car crash and she's sent to live with her conservative Aunt Ruth in the small town of Miles City, Montana, where she does her best to fit in and forget what happened before. So when beautiful Coley Taylor arrives on the scene, it spells trouble in a big way--and things spiral out of control in Cameron's world when she is sent off to God's Promise, a Christian de-gaying camp. (The author addresses this very frankly in most of the interviews I've seen, so I'm assuming it's not a spoiler to include that info here.) Here, she is to learn "appropriate gender roles" and refrain from "negative bonding over sinful/unhealthy desires."

    I wasn't sure what to expect with this novel, so it was a relief to find it doesn't feel at all heavy-handed. I've realized recently that the problem I have with so many Message Books is that you can so clearly tell the author set out with an agenda and just filled in additional details to make a story. However,

    is a fully realized novel in every way, and if Cameron weren't gay, it would still be a well-crafted, well-written story with an immensely appealing protagonist...even if she's not always completely likable. But I sort of like that about her, you know? Because most of us were pretty unbearable as teenagers, and I found her prickliness and defiance to be sympathetic and very real.

    Fair warning that Cameron is just as likely to tell you to eff off as she is to bum a smoke off you, though. For even though there are beautiful moments of stillness and jumbled, joyous images of childhood (Cameron puts a piece of flourite in her mouth at one point so she can taste its hardness and grit, which is something I totally did as a kid), there are also frank sexual situations, marijuana use, shoplifting, and all kinds of other things that might normally drive me up the wall when they're casually included in your typical YA book.

    But this isn't a fluffy young adult novel at all, and it's easy to understand why Cameron acts out as she tries to figure out who she is under extremely difficult circumstances. Not to mention that her feelings are not at all unusual; Cameron's confusion and longing during the prom scene when Coley dances with someone else is that stuff of universal loneliness and despair. As a reader, it also hurt unbearably to read about Mark Turner, son of a preacher from a mega church in Nebraska, who is the "poster boy for a Christian upbringing, but yet here he was, at Promise, just like the rest of us." Mark's struggles with his faith and his natural impulses are devastating to witness, and it's a brutal reminder that there are sometimes terrible consequences when we ignore what's right in the name of what's righteous.

    I appreciated how honestly teenage sex and experimentation were portrayed, in a way that didn't feel tacky or sensationalized. And I appreciated the restraint with which this enormously touchy subject was handled. I found myself getting very angry as I read the book--it's hard not to when you see a child being told unequivocally that he's going to hell for what he feels--but the story is remarkably even-handed. While Cameron is defiant and angry over her containment, as most of the kids are, the few harsh words about the program include "I'm just saying that sometimes you can end up really messing somebody up because the way you're trying to supposedly help them is really messed up." Instead of using this platform to rant or rage, the author simply allows us to get to know Cameron and provides the framework for the question: after reading this girl's story, which is the story of so many girls and boys just like her, can anyone deny the validity of her feelings?

    is a fierce book that boldly explores identity, sexuality, and human responsibility in a relatable way, even as it demands attention from your social conscience and reaches out for your empathy. Even with such a hot-button topic, however, it somehow manages to refrain from outright condemnation of those who oppose its views. It's a shame that twenty years after the events of this book, this type of tolerance is still not entirely a two-way street.

    The author was partially inspired by the true story of a 16-year-old boy who said he was being sent to a de-gaying camp in Tennessee. Read more about this in the author's

    with author

    .

    Emily Danforth also has a

    from the book on her website.

    .

  • Alex
    Mar 07, 2012

    I feel like I've been waiting for this book for forever and it is finally, finally, finally here and it was perfect.

    I feel like I've been waiting for this book for forever and it is finally, finally, finally here and it was perfect.

    I want to read this book a million more times and I want a sequel, ASAP. Okay, great, cool.

    EDIT: THIS BOOK IS JUST AS AMAZING THE SECOND TIME. AND THE THIRD TIME.

  • Thomas
    Mar 09, 2012

    Even though she's a lesbian, I probably wouldn't have wanted to be friends with Cameron Post in real life. Not like I give friendship preference to homosexuals, but seriously - she does weed and she shoplifts. Keep in mind that the thought of getting a tattoo scares me.

    I sympathized with her quickly, though. When her parents die in a car accident, Cameron's first thought isn't horror, or denial, or anger. It's relief. Relief that they would never know she had just kissed a girl a few hours earli

    Even though she's a lesbian, I probably wouldn't have wanted to be friends with Cameron Post in real life. Not like I give friendship preference to homosexuals, but seriously - she does weed and she shoplifts. Keep in mind that the thought of getting a tattoo scares me.

    I sympathized with her quickly, though. When her parents die in a car accident, Cameron's first thought isn't horror, or denial, or anger. It's relief. Relief that they would never know she had just kissed a girl a few hours earlier. As a result of the accident Cam moves in with her conservative, super religious Aunt Ruth along with her grandmother. Life floats by smoothly enough in her small Southern town until Cam meets Coley Taylor, a fierce, beautiful, and supposedly straight cowgirl. Cam's friendship with Coley develops into something intense and unexpected, something that could leave room for more. But when Aunt Ruth finds out about Cam and her "homosexual tendencies", she sends her away and forces her to find out who she really is - and to confront the demons of her past and her future.

    is unlike any book I've read before. Yes, it's a coming-of-age story, but it's about a gay girl growing up in Montana (in the

    ). Emily Danforth describes the rural atmosphere perfectly, capturing the heat and the humidity as well as the cool night air. Her writing made this book work - she included several descriptions, similes, and metaphors that may have spun out of control if any other author had tried to write the book. There was one passage later on in the novel about those sticky-hand toys we all played with in the past; when I read that paragraph, I felt like Danforth somehow knew how I felt about those toys. Her writing elucidated a keen eye for detail and a control of that detail in her descriptions.

    What made this book beautiful for me was its quality as a bildungsroman. Here's a part one of the many passages that I adored:

    Cameron's journey from a child to a young adult didn't feel preachy, pretentious, or too prolonged. She makes mistakes, contemplates life, falls in and out of love, and basically lives like a real yet somehow extraordinary human being. She's frank and sometimes feisty, but that voice won me over. There were themes that ran throughout the novel, but none of them took center stage over her development as a character.

    My review can be summarized in two questions. Is Cameron Post a bad role model? Maybe. Is she an honest girl with a fighting heart who I wish teens would read about and emulate? Definitely.

    *review cross-posted on my blog,

    .

  • Emily May
    Mar 10, 2012

    DNF - pg 212

    starts by painting a beautiful picture of rural Montana and childhood, but is too long a novel in my opinion. My interest at the start quickly waned as the story became dragged out by periods of extremely slow pacing towards the middle. Eventually, I no longer wished to spend any more time with Cameron and her troubles.

  • Keertana
    Sep 01, 2012

    Rating: 4.5 Stars

    I rarely come across books that I cannot review; that leave me speechless, both in mind and body. Kristin Cashore's

    is a novel I've re-read numerous times, but I can never -

    - convey the depth of emotion that novel inspires in me, despite the fact that I can quote from it. Within the past month, however, I've been lucky enough to read two remarkable LGBT novels for teens, both of which have left me spell-bound and speechless. And, truly, I have tried, time and time ag

    Rating: 4.5 Stars

    I rarely come across books that I cannot review; that leave me speechless, both in mind and body. Kristin Cashore's

    is a novel I've re-read numerous times, but I can never -

    - convey the depth of emotion that novel inspires in me, despite the fact that I can quote from it. Within the past month, however, I've been lucky enough to read two remarkable LGBT novels for teens, both of which have left me spell-bound and speechless. And, truly, I have tried, time and time again, to write reviews for these novels. I

    to write reviews for these books because they deserve reviews and they deserve to be read and mulled over and cherished on a shelf. Yet, the words fail me. In a desperate attempt, I have tried to string together a few phrases, a couple of sentences, in an effort to spread my love for these two novels. Even if these non-reviews don't convince you, I certainly hope that someone, someday, will thrust these into your hands and make you read them. It's worth it.

    by emily danforth is a novel I've been meaning to read for a long time - a very long time. It went onto my TBR even before it was released because of the acclaim it received and, even after winning an award, it went unread on my Kindle. I don't know why. It is a quiet, moving, and utterly fierce novel. It’s the type of story that creeps up on you; the prose keeps you flipping the pages, but it isn’t until much later that the full emotional impact finally hits. At somewhere around the 80% mark, tears leaked from my eyes; slowly, and then all at once, pouring out at speeds I couldn’t even have imagined. You see, this is a story of one girl's struggle to reconcile her sexuality and, although the narration can drag and even become dull at parts, it is incredibly moving all the same. Cameron's life, full of a multitude of sexual encounters, define her, slowly but surely, and the themes of feminism - of encouraging women to be proud of their sexuality and unafraid to stand up for it - is astounding.

    Nevertheless, this novel truly gutted me in its historical depiction. danforth's debut is set in the late 1900s and, as such, the LGBT movement isn't as prevalent as it is today. In Cameron's small town, a religious and conservative area, her identity as a lesbian is looked at as a sin. As such, she is sent to a religious camp over the summer in an effort to "cure" her. It doesn't really hit you, until you meet the teens at this camp, the type of behavior they've had to put up with all their lives. Everyone, from their parents to their teachers, are telling these teens that they are

    that they are

    that they are

    for loving someone who isn't of the opposite sex and the manner in which this is conveyed - the events that occur at this camp - just destroyed me. I've never considered the LGBT community in this manner before and, truly, danforth's debut is not only inspiring and feminist, but eye-opening as well. It isn't merely the journey of a girl, it is the journey and struggle of people everywhere, homosexual or heterosexual. It demands to be read. Much like

    this is one book you're better off just experiencing - words do it no justice.

    You can read

    an more on my blog,

  • *eKa*
    Nov 06, 2016

    Despite a fictional work, it felt like I was reading a memoir or at least a diary of Danforth using the name Cameron Post. Because it was so REAL and OBVIOUS to me! What with the fact in the author's note: "She lives with her wife bla bla bla". So don't blame me for my assuming.

    I like almost everything about this book even though in some parts I got bored because I was just too tired to read ( I was so busy lately). The beginning already caught my attention. Man, how could you handle such a ter

    Despite a fictional work, it felt like I was reading a memoir or at least a diary of Danforth using the name Cameron Post. Because it was so REAL and OBVIOUS to me! What with the fact in the author's note: "She lives with her wife bla bla bla". So don't blame me for my assuming.

    I like almost everything about this book even though in some parts I got bored because I was just too tired to read ( I was so busy lately). The beginning already caught my attention. Man, how could you handle such a terrible news. And you thought it was because of you.

    I don't think I can.

    This book is about accepting your self just the way you are, even when you're a lesbian. But Cameron lives with her conservative and religious (I must say) aunt Ruth who immediately sent her to Christian School & Center for Healing called God's Promise when she found out about her preference in love life. I personally against this kind of healing. Because this is how God has made us. There's nothing to change. Just be good with who you are and other people and that should be enough.

    That's why I totally agree with what Cameron had said on this healing:

  • Kaylin
    Mar 28, 2017

    You ever read a book that just feels

    real?

    Like everything starts fine, but then the narrative starts vocalizing feelings you’ve tried to place before? And before you know it you’re completely immersed and trying to understand why your chest aches?

    That was this book for me. It’s gorgeously written, and parts of this hit me

    .

    Aside: As powerful as this story is, it can be very tr

    You ever read a book that just feels

    real?

    Like everything starts fine, but then the narrative starts vocalizing feelings you’ve tried to place before? And before you know it you’re completely immersed and trying to understand why your chest aches?

    That was this book for me. It’s gorgeously written, and parts of this hit me

    .

    Aside: As powerful as this story is, it can be very triggering within the LGBT+ community. Not sure where to say that, but I haven’t seen it mentioned and I think it should be.

    The antagonists aren’t demons.

    Instead, they are fleshed-out characters, with their own quirks, motivations and mistakes. Instead of simply committing horrible crimes in the name of revenge or power—they

    believe they’re doing the right thing.

    I don’t know about you, but to me that’s

    And it was expertly handled.

    This is hyper-realistic and really reads like an autobiography. (It is an own-voices novel and shows)

    truly knows how to set a scene, and everything from the gorgeous descriptions of Montana summers to the minute details of Cam’s day reflect this. The pace is very gradually and overall incredibly atmospheric.

    The characters are never explored completely, but instead we sort of receive snapshots of them at specific points This was very interesting to me, especially since the characters were fairly diverse and dynamic.

    This is sloooooooowwwwwww

    It seems weird I would put that under Cons and Pros, but it’s the truth. It’s one of the strong points, but it can also be very detracting. Sometimes it was hard to reach for this book when I knew I was going to get pages and pages of daily activates and descriptions.

    This is somewhat overstuffed with drug usage, alcohol and sexual situations all involving very young individuals. It gave the book a realistic vibe and was always handled in a way that felt true to the characters, but again—made it hard to reach for.

    There’s not a lot of resolution for anything.

    As engrossing as this was for me, it’s interesting it wasn’t a 5-Star read. But I think at 500+ pages it might have all been a bit

    without really reaching a clear conclusion.

    I created a new shelf because of this book: Best-Books-I-Never-Want-To-Re-Read.


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