“We weren’t really sure about any of the actual laws involved, but certainly I’d seen enough movies to know that all bad guys split up when they were on the run, so that if one was caught, not everybody else got trapped too. And we sort of liked thinking of ourselves as the bad guys, but the kind who you root for, the ones who you want to make it.”
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth
Star rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Format: Library ebook
Summary: Cameron Post is twelve years old when she kisses her best friend Irene, within twenty-four hours her parents both die in a car crash and she feels both relief and guilt over it. As she grows up she knows she has to hide her sexuality from her small Montana town and her aunt who is now her legal guardian. When she is outed against her will, she is sent to a Christian conversion therapy camp.
Review: This book was so good and I really liked it but it was also really tough to read the part about her time at God’s Promise. There are a few graphic scenes when a boy there tries to commit suicide. I cried so much reading this book.
I really liked how integrated Cameron’s love of movies is with this book, how she frames a lot of things that happen in her life in relation to the movies she watches. I feel like it is really well done, not like cheesy ‘let me see how many pop references I can squeeze into my book’ deal. Also danforth’s description of the scenery of Montana was amazing, it really added a whole other depth to the book.
There was so much in this book, there is humor and tragedy. My heart broke so many times for Cameron as I read this book. There were so many moments that I was so upset with the adults given charge of her. I think the thing that was most upsetting for me was when her aunt decided she couldn’t come home for the summer, keeping her from her tradition of visiting her parents’ graves on the anniversary of their deaths. That just seemed so unnecessarily cruel to me. They couldn’t even let her come home for a weekend, they shipping her off in July and she was home for about two weeks for Christmas and that was it. And she was mostly cut off for a long while because she hadn’t earned “privileges”.
I liked that even if it took him a bit that her friend Jamie came around to her identity. His note was pretty sweet, I thought. I wish we could have seen him interact with Cameron after she was sent to God’s Promise.
I wish there was more after her escape, or a sequel but at the same time I liked the ending. Her going and swimming in the lake her parents died in was almost like a baptism or even rebirth.
The whole stay at God’s Promise is hard to read, as Cameron tells an official investigating the place after Mark’s suicide attempt they’re being emotionally abused. They’re being taught to hate themselves. Jane even points out that no one has ever actually been cured, they either run out of money for the tuition or they graduate high school. Otherwise, kids don’t leave.
There are a few places where the book is slow but otherwise it’s really good read. It’s well written and has a lot of great characters. I highly recommend it.
Recommendation: This is an important book I feel, showing a look into conversion therapy and how it doesn’t help kids at all.