Friday, October 4, 2013
Book Review: The Yonahlosseee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton diSclafani
Author: Anton diSclafani
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Library Copy
This book would be rated: PG-13 or R for sort of creepy sexual themes
At sixteen, Thea Atwell shows up in the mountains of North Carolina to spend the summer at the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. The camp is actually a kind of finishing school, and while it's luxurious and her fellow students are friendly, she is fully aware that she's sent there as punishment. As the year (yes, she's there for a year, not the summer as she originally thought) unfolds, the reason for her banishment becomes clear-- her family holds her responsible for a fight between her brother and their cousin that resulted in a serious brain injury for her cousin.
The book is set in the 1930s, and while the main narrative of Thea growing into herself and building relationships with her classmates is very readable and entertaining, what makes this book interesting is Thea's sense of sexuality. It's her budding sexuality that gets her sent to the school in the first place, and she seems to realize that sex is power. However, she's also very young and immature in many ways, and sometimes seems misguided on how to use this sexual power. I was worried that it would be a kind of morality play-- bad girl seduces people and pays; however, the final chapters don't seem to support this. It's the kind of book I wish my friends would read so I'd be able to talk about it with them.