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Paperback Commencement Book

ISBN: 0307454967

ISBN13: 9780307454966


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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

The bestselling author of Maine brings us a sparkling tale of friendship and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose. Assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn't have less in common. Celia, a lapsed Catholic, arrives with a bottle of vodka in her suitcase; beautiful Bree pines for the fianc she...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

I couldn't put this book down!

Do you know that feeling, when you're reading a book, and you don't care if you have a long ride on the train or subway because it means you'll have more time to read the book? Or, you come into work with bags the size of golf balls under your eyes, because, even though it was 1am and you knew you should be going to bed, you just had to read ONE MORE CHAPTER? Or that sad feeling you get at the end of book, because you know that you have to leave this world behind, and say goodbye to the characters you've grown to know and love... I felt all of those things with Commencement. Each of the women in this book is complex and flawed and funny and raw - just like the women I went to college with. The structure of the book draws you in with the characters, and then weaves through time, unraveling the world slowly, delightfully, and in rich detail. Finally - do you know that feeling...when you finish a book and want to immediately FIND the author and ORDER her to either tell you exactly what hAppens to her characters for the rest of their lives - or, at the very least, start writing the sequel for crying out loud? Yep, that's how I feel right now Get this book!

i loved it

i am about forty five years older than the young women in this novel but i found it a wonderful first novel by a very talented young writer. i believed the characters and in the characters and i found their stories vividly interesting. i did not know young ladies like this in the 60's when i went to college and while reading this story, i was sorry i didn't. ms. sullivan brought the characters to life from the opening paragraph to the last sentence. i cared about them, their successes and failures. i laughed with them and cried with them too. i am delighted that i read this novel, and gave it to all of my friends to read. this author is one talented lady, one to watch. read this and be moved! in every which way.hope she's working on another one.

Sullivan Hits Her Mark

Caveat: I went to Smith and I may have lived some of the plot elements in Commencement. But whether or not you went to Smith or an all-women's college or to college at all, this is a novel that reels you in, taking you on a smooth ride over the landscape of a particular moment in these four protagonists' lives. The characters and their circumstances are specifically and colorfully rendered. This is a great read, a cousin to novels like Stand By Me, The Outsiders or Prep, stories that illuminate a specific experience amongst a group of people as they come of age. Courtney Sullivan is funny and her writing is tender and on solid ground. Second caveat: I used to work at the desk next to Courtney at the New York Times; I never read the book until after it was finished and she didn't actually base any of those plot elements on my experiences and we weren't even at Smith at the same time. Disclosures aside, I'm writing this review because I stand behind this book and have recommended it to many on the basis of its merits.

Witty insights + Sense of intrigue makes this a winner!

With witty insights and sharp humor, Sullivan's debut novel will be a hit with anyone who attended Smith College or any other predominantly female school. Our four main characters, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April, couldn't be more diverse as personalities and backgrounds go, but with their assignment to the same dorm, their lives intersect and the friendship takes on a life of its own. Celia has had years of Catholic school education and a mother who is zealous enough to leave her daughter with a prayer card before she drops her at college. With all this background, it's no wonder that Celia claims herself as an atheist. Although she does pray to the Virgin Mary, out of habit and out of necessity, it's kind of like asking for a promise. Sally catches Celia's attention when announcing that she withdrew from school and then un-withdrew due to her mother's sudden passing. Bree catches Celia's attention because of the engagement ring on her ring. Celia can't help but wonder what is with the child bride at her school. April can't help but catch everyone's attention with her "Riot: Don't Diet" T-shirt, her outspoken views, and her commitment to every distinct and leftist cause on the campus. Spoken with alternating chapters from each character's standpoint, the reader gets a glimpse of their life at Smith, as well as life beyond Smith. When they get together at Sally's wedding a few years after graduation, their devotion to one another has not changed, but after a bit too much champagne, they let words fly. Who agrees with whom, who does not, and the repercussions of letting too much time pass since last speaking to a friend keeps the pace and the intrigue of the novel going. Sullivan has crafted a wonderful novel that will keep readers intrigued and entertained. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to phone your pals from school, either.

Couldn't put it down

I read this book in less than 24 hours. The writing is excellent..the plot is engaging and interestingly structured (starts at a place in the middle of the story, with flashbacks in part one and then moves forward in part two, with some additional reflection). Having not gone to a women's college, I was absolutely fascinated by the depictions of Smith College life. Did an excellent job with addressing the roles of women and the forms that feminism can take in today's world. My only complaint is that the "Celia" character was not as well developed as the other three -- I get the sense that this character is based on the author somewhat, so perhaps it was harder for her to dig deep. There are many unanswered questions about this character at the end of the book -- career, love life, life habits, etc. where the others by then have all reached some sort of resolution or turning point to move on in their lives...she has not. In any case, EXCELLENT first novel.. I would highly recommend it to the type of reader who likes women's friendship of self-realization novels (like Secret Life of Bees, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Amy Tan, Lisa See, etc.)
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