Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author: Emily M. Danforth
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: 28th May 2013
Genres: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary
At first I wasn’t sure how I would like this book. It’s told over a timeline of a few years, something I didn’t realize until a couple chapters in. It starts with Cameron at age twelve and it definitely didn’t read like she was twelve so I had no idea. Then I wondered if I really wanted to continue reading about a twelve year old’s relationships. Thankfully, she grew up through the pages really quickly and I was able to take her a little more seriously.
Cameron Post’s parents died in a car crash just hours after she found herself kissing her best friend, Irene. The relief came before the sadness. This pivotal moment in her life is a recurring theme throughout the book but it’s not so overused that it becomes irritating.
Cameron’s conservative aunt Ruth comes to live with her and has Cameron become a part of a new church, one that doesn’t have many kind things to say about the LGBT community. Cameron begins to feel even more like an outsider, spending her time watching movies and gluing random bits and bobs she finds or steals to a dollhouse her father never finished building for her.
Everything seems to be going okay for Cameron- her best friend Jamie knows she’s attracted to the new girl, Coley Taylor (who also is interested in Cameron, though she’s battling herself over it), she has liberal friends who want her to visit and experience Pride, and she has a summer job as a lifeguard.
But when something goes awry, aunt Ruth isn’t about to let it slide. Cameron is sent off to God’s Promise, where teenagers go to ‘pray the gay away’, for lack of a better phrase. Cameron feels hurt and abandoned by the people who matter most to her and definitely doesn’t want to stay at God’s Promise and miss her final year of high school. Despite all of the scarring incidents that happen along the way, Cameron isn’t alone and makes two really good friends while there and their friendship gets them through the worst of it and then some.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a great insight into the life of a young gay person who is a part of an ultra-religious family and town. It portrays her own internal battles, her sexual experiences with both girls and guys, and what it meant to grow up in that era. The eighties Montana setting was so easy to imagine and become a part of. The author does a really good job describing the atmosphere of the book and you may find yourself needing to take a break from the story out of shear exhaustion or anger, maybe both.
I was really frustrated with this book, but only because of it’s themes and how real the story was. I personally enjoyed reading it, but I often felt really overwhelmed by it as well, so fair warning.