Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pledged by Alexandra Robbins (CBR-IV #15)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #15/52
Published: 2004
Pages: 384
Genre: Nonfiction

     I have almost zero interest in sororities, but I found this book for $1 at a used bookstore. I decided to pick it up because my best friend from high school joined a sorority in college while my small, private college had absolutely no Greek system whatsoever (we didn't even have a football team!). She got really into the whole sorority thing (and still is five years after college) and I guess I just don't really get it. To me, it seems like you're paying people to choose whether your good enough to be their friend. But she seemed to have a good experience that was almost nothing like the craziness in this book. Because of that (and so I don't get flamed by sorority girls), I completely understand that what I read is NOT a representation of all sororities. The author even states this at the beginning of the book. Just to clarify again, I fully understand that there are good, decent sororities out there....they just aren't really represented in this book because, frankly, that would be boring.

     I read this book knowing almost nothing about how the Greek system works besides random tidbits I've heard from my one friend (the only person I really know that was in a sorority). The lingo was always strange (Spring Sing? Jump week? Bigs and littles?) and I never really knew what any of it was. Thanks to this book, I now know what all that crap is. Sigh. More useless knowledge, I guess. 

     The book follows four girls who are in college sororities. Their names and schools have been changed for privacy, but supposedly their stories are completely true. I think the college is supposed to be somewhere in the South, where apparently sororities are a HUGE deal. Like, could make or break a future job interview big deal. And they weren't kidding. Most of these girls take the whole sorority experience very seriously. 

     In between the personal stories of the four girls, there is some interesting information about the history of sororities and how they work. I thought this was probably the best part of the book. It was very informative and interesting. I didn't really care for the stories from the girls because 90% of it was drama over guys and dating. I guess getting a date is really important to sorority girls. However, I don't really care if they find dates, so this part was mostly filler to me. 

     Overall, it was interesting to see how sororities are run and to see some of the shocking statistics, but I could have done without the dating drama. Sometimes I felt like Robbins specifically chose certain stereotypes to follow (the black girl who grew up poor, the rich white girl with her dad's credit cards, etc.). It made the characters seem more like caricatures than real people.

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