J. Courtney Sullivan’s ‘Commencement’

Short version:  if you want to know about life at Smith just after the turn of the twenty-first century, read it right now.

Slightly longer version: I read this last week while I was at Mailer camp, during an afternoon or two when I should’ve been working on my outline. (I worked on the outline too, I promise.) I’ve never before had the experience of reading a book set in a place where I spent so much time — people don’t tend to write many novels about Lancaster County, and thankfully Witness doesn’t exactly represent my childhood. I was surprised by how delightful it was to read a book about Smith: about orientation, about living with women, about the little maids’ quarters singles in the Quad houses that I used to visit occasionally. And about female friendship, weird beast that it is. I really enjoyed this book.

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