This book was recommended to me by one of my sister’s friends. Which is truly surprising given he’s not who you would typically envision reading LGBTQ young adult fiction, but it is refreshing to know that young men such as himself are doing so.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” was the sort of young adult fiction that makes you almost nostalgic for those tumultuous years of trial and error. This book, however, highlights a part of the teen experience that is often not spoken of and usually denied a platform. This book focuses on the additional challenges that our teen friends in the LGBTQ community can be faced with, and by doing so highlights the importance in recognizing these experiences as valid.
Cameron, the main character, is someone you can identify with in many different ways. Her sometimes bad attitude towards her aunt, her crazy, stupid love for a beautiful friend, her love of movies and how they helped her escape, the excitement of sharing a passionate kiss…there’s at least one thing that will remind you of your former self. I loved how real she felt. Cameron wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t necessarily confident, she wasn’t the prettiest. She was what many of us feel we were during those years. It is hard to truly capture what it feels like being that age, mainly because with time all those life-shattering problems we had no longer seem important, rather benign if anything. But it’s only because we have gained perspective and experience. It is important to keep in mind that at that time the seemingly minor problems we faced were very real, because usually it was the worst thing that had happened to you at that point. It is easy to dismiss the woes of teenagers because we know that their problems are trivial in the grand scheme of things. However, that doesn’t change that for them it isn’t trivial. We are limited by the experiences we have had, so you cannot discredit their experiences just because they still have, hopefully, a lot of living left to do.
The most striking part of Cameron’s story is when she is sent to a school that specializes in conversion therapy. Highlighting this very real reality helps give the reader perspective on what it must feel like when your family and friends turn against you because of who you happen to be attracted to. Not everyone has this experience of being sent to conversion therapy, but it exemplifies the experiences that many LGBTQ teenagers face with gaining acceptance from their communities, society in general and with themselves.
Overall an amazing read, and I loved that the story ended where it began.