Sunday, December 16, 2018

Giant Days

Pratt, Non. Giant Days
August 21st 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Susan, Daisy and Esther are very different women, but they become fast friends after meeting on their college dorm floor. Susan is premed, and trying to avoid her former boyfriend, whom she did not know was going to go to the same college. Daisy has led a sheltered life, having been raised and home schooled by her grandmother. Esther has a privileged background, but presents herself as a goth chick. Three are adjusting to the freedom of college life, going to parties, doing too much under aged drinking, and spending more time hanging out at the student union that they seem to spend going to classes. Susan gets a lot of her notes from fellow student Ed, which allows her to stay afloat with her more demanding course load. Esther, who is majoring in English literature, gets half way through the semester without ever seeming to have attended any classes. Daisy is a bit unfocused, and in an attempt to become more involved in campus life, signs up for 32 different groups during the Activity Fair. This is clearly not a viable way to live, so Esther and Susan help her extricate herself from all but one group. She remained in the Zoise fellowship, which is a yoga group with suspiciously narcotic cookies. Esther finds herself going to more classes while she is trying to stalk the very cool Vectra, who seems like she should be a soul mate, but who is not very nice to Esther. When Daisy's behavior becomes erratic and she disappears for several days, her friends have to track her down and figure out what the ulterior motives of Zoise are.

College is an exciting and somewhat frightening time and reading about the intricacies of daily life makes actually going off to college a bit easier. I loved Esther's melt down about all the "administration" required just to get through the day-- at home, if she needed shampoo, she just put it on a list, and it appeared! I wish this had shown the girls actually going to more classes and not bunking off so much, but the consequences of not showing up don't make this seem like a good idea!

Friendships in college are often very odd as well, so seeing these three girls hit it off was amusing. Susan is given to ratty jeans and flannel shirts, Esther embraces her Goth style, and Daisy is still firmly rooted in her childhood, but the three bond over ramen noodles, trying to get through all of the reading for courses, and navigating the difficult waters of adult relationships.

This novel is based on a comic by John Allison, and having some familiarity with those would make this a bit more engaging, but all of the background necessary is in the book. I just found that reading the strip helped solidify the characters in my mind a bit more. There are so few books that address the college experience, so readers who loved the college time travel tome Waking in Time (Angie Stanton, 2017) and want to know more about what it is like to be off without parental supervision will love this funny, bright romp about three friends trying to make their way in a new setting.

Aside from the fact that Susan is premed, there is really nothing that makes this book similar to the classic Cherry Ames, Student Nurse books, so I had to laugh when Goodreads told me that since I was reading Giant Days, I might also like Cherry Ames. Of course, those books were written almost 80 years ago, so maybe they are both good depictions of their times! This has a bit too much drinking and discussion of birth control for middle schoolers to be all that interested, but lacks anything graphically descriptive.
Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment