Thursday, December 18, 2008

If I Could Turn Back Time

Ever since I met a cute boarding school boy on my trip to Paris the summer after my junior year in high school I wished that I could have gone to boarding school. I'd have settled for a private school where I could wear a plaid skirt and knee highs every day. Instead I went to public school and played field hockey. In college I visited the Lawrenceville School on a trip for a Sociology class and decided that I'd live out my dream by becoming a teacher/housemistress. Instead I became a librarian and read books set at boarding school.

With their high school dorms, secret societies, general hijinx, and amount of living that goes on without adults to interrupt or interfere, it just seems like the coolest place for a teenager. To this day, whenever I read a book or watch a movie where the characters attend boarding school - Dead Poet's Society, Outside Providence, Rushmore, School Ties, Harry Potter, Looking for Alaska, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - it brings me back to that longing.

Or maybe I'm just really loving The Disreputable History for the witty, intelligent writing style that brings the reader lines like "So when Matthew wore that shirt, it was like he was still Clark Kent, only Clark Kent wearing the Superman insignia, which was very meta. And hot."

Yeah, it's that.

And the boarding school thing.


  1. There’s also “Prep” by Curtis Sittenfeld and “Old School” by Tobias Wolff. There certainly are a lot of great boarding school books.

    This may seem like out of left field, but for some reason I enjoy parts of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” for similar reasons that I enjoy boarding school books. I enjoy all of “Little Women” but I particularly like the portion where Jo is living in a boarding house trying to make her way as a writer. I think there is something about communal living with people you’re not related to that creates some strange combination of hominess and excitement – homey because a character is developing a pseudo-family with their housemates and excitement because they’re usually embarking on something new (a new life, a new career, a new school, etc.) I wonder if there are a lot of “boarding house books” out there.

    And congrats on starting the blog Alicia! I’m bookmarking LibrariYAn in my delicious account.

  2. For a boarding house book, there's The Rules for Hearts by Sarah Ryan: we follow the main character as she lives in a co-op (similar idea) between her senior year of high school and her freshman year of college.

    I agree with Erin about the appeal.

    And, I'm going to go back to doing my actual work now...but your blog is so much fun to comment on!

  3. Also, Sara Ryan's name doesn't have an "h" in it. (Apparently I am incapable of spelling anything correctly after 10pm.)