August 29, 2005
This summer I read Wonderland, A Year in the Life of an American High School. The hook is the Pennsbury High prom. At Pennsbury the prom is a storied traditon, it is extravagant, and it--apparently rare these days--is held in the school.
So the book is interesting. The author, middle-aged, views all the goings-on with more than a touch of melancholy:
"No examined life is ordinary."
"Wow, the father thought. That's my little girl? . . . When did she get so grown up? They were the words that have been expressed, one way or another, forever: Where did the time go?"
"He had just turned eighteen. In a few weeks he would be voting for the first time. All he had ahead of him was the prom, graduation, the summer before college, and all the tomorrows that would come after it. The wind was dying with sunset. It was a Saturday night. The school was closed--no debate tournament, no football game, no dance--but the village of Pennsbury was up and running. What Bob would do, he did not know."
For an update on one of the key events in the book, go here (scroll up to the first post at the top of the page). It's interesting that the kid writing this thinks the book was named for a recent pop song; the author explicitly declares otherwise. Some kids should have a touch more history and literature.