A Love Story and An Outrage: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

July 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment


The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Balzer & Bray

You may have heard the hullabaloo about The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth being banned from a summer reading list at Cape Henlopen High School in Delaware due, supposedly, to profanity. Malinda Lo of Diversity in YA has been keeping readers well-updated on the proceedings. emily m. danforth herself wrote an open letter to the school board.

It’s true that the book does not shy away from expletives. Neither do the other books that have been allowed to remain on the school’s summer reading list.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a story about a girl, Cam, orphaned at a young age and raised by her aunt and grandmother. During the course of the novel, Cam comes out/is outed as a lesbian, forges sexual relationships with a few different ladies, and is sent to a religious camp meant to cure her.

Now, the matter of whether the book was really banned for profanity is being well and thoroughly tackled by the aforementioned sources. I don’t think another blog post about it would necessarily serve anyone. But another blog post about how great and uniquely important this book is? I think that’s useful. (Sidenote: I think vocal book loving is always useful.)

I love this book. And I think that this book, in particular, is valuable–not just for young queer girls, not even just for young girls, but for everyone. So I want to take this blog post to talk a little bit about why. 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a frank, gutsy story about a lesbian teenager. She falls in love with at least three different girls over the course of the book, all in completely different ways–from best-friend-turned-complicated love to, oh-thank-god-you’re-different-like-me love, to unrequited-or-is-it love. She also falls in love with movies, with exploring abandoned buildings, with (in an awkward and imbalanced way that is just so real) her best guy friend, with swimming, and the Midwestern sky. She loves her own self, even when she feels horrendously guilty about being who she is. She loves her grandmother and her aunt, even when they tell her that the very core of her is wrong.

And yet, unlike most other queer coming-of-age novels, this is not a romance. Cam’s first crush is not the girl who she gets shoved out of the closet for. Her first girlfriend is not the girl she dreams about. And the girl she adores with immediate, unadulterated adoration is someone else entirely. Because not for the first time, but definitely in a rare turn of events, this is a love story about a lesbian teenager who does not come out for her girlfriend, who does not run away with her girlfriend, who does not stay with the first girl she falls for. This is a love story that is not about two girls in love.

Cameron Post is a heroine for the confused people with complex stories. People of all kinds who know they need, desperately, to let themselves fully and bravely become who they are.

In a conversation with her friend Jamie, Cameron says “…maybe I do know, and I’m still confused too, at the same time. Does that make sense? I mean, it’s like how you noticed this thing about me tonight, you saw it, or you already knew it – it’s there. But that doesn’t mean it’s not confusing or whatever.”

This portrayal of confusion and intuition and becoming is not just for the high school age queer girls. Cameron Post is for the adults who could use a little more guts, a little more raw courage (here’s lookin’ at you, Henlopen school board.).

Anyone could read her story and say “that’s me.” Profanity and all, that’s me. Confused and ashamed and still somehow unabashedly herself, that’s me. Any brave person, any confused, in-love, defiant, reflective, growing person can look at this heroine and say “that’s me.”

And everybody should have the chance. 

by Kerry C


Entry filed under: Book News, YA. Tags: , , , , , , .

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