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Penelope (Vintage Contemporaries)

av Rebecca M. Harrington

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1506138,965 (3.04)5
Misfit freshman Penelope is rapidly overwhelmed by the aggressive competitiveness of Harvard University's environment in and out of the classrooms, a situation that is complicated by her crush on an upper classman and her participation in an absurdist production of Caligula.

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I would have liked more information about how Penelope ended up at Harvard. Apparently, her parents didn't attend and she doesn't seem aware that she is attending a prestigious, competitive and extremely expensive university. Speaking of parents, where was her father? Siblings?

The book had moments of humor but on the whole, it wasn't enjoyable because of the simplistic main character. I got sick of hearing "OK" and "I don't know" repeatedly. Where was this girl's personality? ( )
  Kuglar | Mar 28, 2018 |
How can a book make you sad and feel so wonderful at the same time?

First of all, disregard the synopsis. It gives you a wrong impression of what to expect. Penelope is funny, sure, but it's also perversely non-conformist. I've looked at other people's ratings on Goodreads, and you're either love it or hate it, because people don't get it in the same way they don't get Penelope herself in the book.

Penelope is a freshman at Harvard and she is considered nerdy and weird, this one quiet, agreeable and entirely forgettable girl. You know why? She is an odd duck in love with Hercule Poirot and has a very subtle sense of humour that nobody seems to get. Nobody seems to hear what she's saying to them either, not even her mother.

Everyone around her is entirely self-absorbed and full of crap. They talk about their careers, being edgy and modern, they are empty over-achievers and unfortunately Penelope can't make sense of the life happening around her. She tries to go with the flow and gravitates towards this group and the other, but nothing helps her to feel as someone who belongs. The sense of loneliness in the sea of people and pointlessness of it all is incredible.

Then she meets this fascinating European rich boy, Gustav, mad as a hatter and with a peculiar sense of humour. She has it in her head that if only they had some sort of relationship she can go on this great adventure, because she honestly doesn't have any certainty or goals in her life unlike her fellow freshmen.

Gustav... I can't even get angry with him, because he is rich, spoiled and utterly scatterbrained. He is very charming when he is with Penelope and forgets her when she is out of his line of sight. Crazy, flitting and delightfully bizarre. However, the relationship or shall I say non-relationship/make out sessions with him force Penelope little by little out of her shell, and by the end of the book the whole situation and how she deals with it gives her personality better definition.

I wish Rebecca Harrington wrote more books because I'm dying to know what will become of Penelope, and I just dearly loved the author's style of writing, subtle, ironic, out of the box and melancholy.

Very much recommended. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |

Not sure why I invested the time to read this - the main character is more painful to follow than sticking needles in your eyeballs. ( )
  lincolnpan | Dec 31, 2014 |
Penelope was a book I had been eagerly awaiting. I love books about university life, from The Red Book to I Am Charlotte Simmons. I had the date of release marked in my diary and bought it the moment I saw it in the bookshop. I loved the birds on the front cover; the cat I’m not so sure about, as it turns out that Penelope is allergic to cats. That was my first warning that this book wasn’t going to be the voyage of liberation and self-discovery that I’d thought.

Let’s start from the start. Penelope is an odd character – we find this out almost immediately when her mother starts giving her instructions on how to make friends and removes Tetris off her phone. That’s fine, nerdiness is okay. Penelope lacks the knowledge of what constitutes a social conversation (discussing how you sat in a car booster seat until you were nine is not one of them) and she’s completely awkward. So of course we expect her to grow, make friends and find a place where she can be happy at Harvard.

Wrong. Penelope doesn’t appear to learn from her experiences at drunken costume parties or clumsy attempts at romance. She is awkward with a capital A, cringe worthy to the point it becomes so uncomfortable you want to look away because this is excruciating. Her actions and speech are unfathomable at times – not even funny in an evil way.

This brings me to another major point in this novel – speech. I found the speech of all the characters, not just Penelope, to be old fashioned and something out of the 1700s. The characters rarely use contractions when they speak – please find me a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds who speak like that! For example, one character says ‘That is what is so hard’ (girls are jealous of her). Wouldn’t it be more natural to say, ‘That’s what’s so hard’ or ‘OMG, it’s like so hard’? Or is this some satire that I’m completely missing? Whatever. It seems like the characters don’t really listen to each other either because most conversations end with an uncomfortable ‘awesome’.

Maybe I’ve missed something crucial here, and this is what life at university is truly like – flat, awkward and painful – and my personal experiences of fun, friendship and occasional hard work were out of the ordinary. Perhaps this is all satire that I’m too lowly to understand. Like, whatever – I’d give this book a miss or borrow it from the library if you must read it.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
2 rösta birdsam0610 | Mar 31, 2013 |
(200) ( )
  activelearning | Dec 26, 2012 |
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Misfit freshman Penelope is rapidly overwhelmed by the aggressive competitiveness of Harvard University's environment in and out of the classrooms, a situation that is complicated by her crush on an upper classman and her participation in an absurdist production of Caligula.

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Populära omslag


Medelbetyg: (3.04)
1 1
2 8
2.5 4
3 9
3.5 3
4 7
4.5 2
5 1

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