Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth
Cameron Post is a girl who is struggling with a lot. The sudden death of her parents, the departure of her best friend and her sexuality. As she grows and matures, the latter, coupled with a misplaced sense of guilt, complicates her life more and more until her Christian fundamentalist aunt sends her away to God's Promise, a camp that offers gay conversion for teens like Cameron. Now the race is on for Cameron to be true to herself, but she is not exactly sure who that person is ...
Although a little longer than most YA novels, this one was an entertaining and thought provoking read about a young woman who is struggling with her sense of self. The setting--the early 1990s--brings a sense of nostalgia in some ways, while simultaneously reminding us of how far we have come in that time terms of inclusiveness, respect and understanding. One of the most interesting parts of the novel is the way that the author portrays characters like Aunt Ruth and Lydia from the conversion camp. Instead of demonising them, or creating a character akin to Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Danforth portrays them as women who genuinely believe that they are doing the right thing, and who want to help Cameron. Their efforts may be misguided, but they don't know that, and nor do they know any better.
Overall, this one is fairly lengthy and a little sad in places, but worth it in the end.