The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth is a beautiful coming-of-age story about a girl, Cameron Post, growing up in conservative Montana in the 90’s, coming to terms with her parent’s death and with her sexuality.
When Cameron is twelve years old, her parents are killed in a car crash. Her first tangible emotion is one of relief-relief that her parents will never know that the night before, she was kissing a girl. Her grandmother and ultra-religious aunt come to live with her soon after the crash to take care of Cam, and to get her parent’s affairs in order.
Though her aunt Ruth means well, Cameron finds that she is unable to relate to her due to their differing beliefs about homosexuality. Throughout the story Cam struggles with guilt, thinking that it was her ‘sinful’ act that pushed God to punish her by way of her parents deaths. Growing up with gay-pride movements and even some friends who are ‘out’ as homosexuals, Cameron grows into a more independent person, branching away from her aunt’s more conservative beliefs; that all gays are going to hell.
This book has wonderful imagery that is guaranteed to paint pictures in your head. It has a protagonist you can’t help but adore, thought-provoking questions about religion and sin, and an important message that is shown throughout the story. I finished this book in two days, putting aside things such as eating and sleeping, (totally unimportant, right?), so that I could finish this book. Though it wasn’t an ‘on the edge of your seat’ book, Cameron’s struggle of growing up in a rural and conservative area in the 90’s, along with the author’s amazing descriptive phrases which perfectly detailed the interactions between characters as well as the scenery, was what really drew me in. Though she isn’t exactly the best role-model (mentions of drugs and shoplifting, as well as a couple of graphic scenes, readers be aware), she is still likable as an honest, persevering girl.
I highly recommend this book to more mature readers who are looking for a stimulating story about morals, friendship, forgiveness and love. Cameron is a protagonist that you’ll root for to the end, and with the author’s amazing use of words, it will feel like you’re in the room with her (tissues may be needed).
-Keiko, River Teen Advisory Board