Commencement – J. Courtney Sullivan

Title: Commencement
Author: J. Courtney Sullivan
ISBN: 9780307270740
Pages: 336
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Bree, Celia, April, and Sally couldn’t be more different when the meet for the first time as dorm-mates at Smith College.  At first, they are wary of one another, but as circumstances bring them together, they form a strong bond that lasts through their four years of college.  But once they are faced with the trials and tribulations of real life, will their friendships still be as unbreakable as they were when they were young?

Review:

When I first heard about Commencement, I thought it would be a satisfying women’s fiction novel, and I knew that I really wanted to read it.  What I didn’t expect, though, was a beautifully written work of literary fiction that dealt with a multitude of women’s issues and also a wonderful tribute to friendship.

All four characters in Commencement were well written and very interesting to get to know.  They were all incredibly different, which is a good thing in a book like this.  Any reader will be able to identify with one of these women, but all of them are written very sympathetically.  My favorite character was Bree, and her dilemma between her conservative family and the woman she seems to be in love with.  April was the character I understood least, and though I admired her activism, her decisions really frustrated me.  She was such a strong, capable woman, yet she allowed herself to be manipulated so easily.

The women’s issues discussed in Commencement are compelling and really take the novel to the level of literary fiction, rather than simply women’s fiction.  Rape, sexual abuse, death, prostitution – these are just some of the issues discussed in depth within the pages of this novel.  However, they never make it heavy or drag it down.  Sullivan has a real talent at deftly writing difficult situations without making the book depressing.

This was an impressive novel if only because it’s so smart – the dialogue is witty and all four of the women are intelligent and resourceful.  But Commencement is so much more than that too – it’s funny, sincere, and it has a lot of heart.  These women and their lasting friendships are really worth reading about – I suggest you give this book a try as soon as you can!

Comments

  1. I am so excited to read this one! Glad you liked it.

  2. I am so excited to read this one! Glad you liked it.

  3. I have never seen or heard of this book before so I am so glad that you have reviewed it. Looks wonderful. I love reading stories abut smart women and am partial to the university setting as well.

  4. I have never seen or heard of this book before so I am so glad that you have reviewed it. Looks wonderful. I love reading stories abut smart women and am partial to the university setting as well.

  5. I always love a book about women that transcends chick-lit. I’ve never heard of it before, but now I will keep my eyes open for it. It is nice to read about smart women, versus death and destruction!

  6. I always love a book about women that transcends chick-lit. I’ve never heard of it before, but now I will keep my eyes open for it. It is nice to read about smart women, versus death and destruction!

  7. This was a great book! I’m so glad you chose to review because not many people have.

  8. This was a great book! I’m so glad you chose to review because not many people have.

  9. This one seems to have elements that actually make reading a satisfying experience. Books about women need not only be chick lit as many people presume but something which can make u happy as well as bring a sense of reading something worthwhile.

  10. This one seems to have elements that actually make reading a satisfying experience. Books about women need not only be chick lit as many people presume but something which can make u happy as well as bring a sense of reading something worthwhile.

  11. I loved your review of this book. I always like chick lit books that aren’t typical in their subject matter and writing style – this one fits the bell to a tee! I’m excited about this book and will be going to my local bookstore to get it ASAP. Thanks for letting us know about this great book. Cheers!

  12. I loved your review of this book. I always like chick lit books that aren’t typical in their subject matter and writing style – this one fits the bell to a tee! I’m excited about this book and will be going to my local bookstore to get it ASAP. Thanks for letting us know about this great book. Cheers!

  13. I love to read about women’s friendships, because I think they’re important and special, so this sounds wonderful to me.

  14. I love to read about women’s friendships, because I think they’re important and special, so this sounds wonderful to me.

  15. Novels focusing on several “main” characters can either be awesome or completely fall flat for me — and it sounds like this one is awesome! 🙂 I’ll definitely look for it! And I love the simplicity of the cover… it’s really nice!

  16. Novels focusing on several “main” characters can either be awesome or completely fall flat for me — and it sounds like this one is awesome! 🙂 I’ll definitely look for it! And I love the simplicity of the cover… it’s really nice!

  17. You know what, I saw this one at the library and almost picked it up but for some reason did not. Thanks to your review, I’m DEFINITELY going to take it home next time. It sounds like exactly my kind of book. 🙂

  18. You know what, I saw this one at the library and almost picked it up but for some reason did not. Thanks to your review, I’m DEFINITELY going to take it home next time. It sounds like exactly my kind of book. 🙂

  19. Well this sounds just like something I will enjoy! I love reading about women and there friendship 🙂

    Great Review!

  20. Well this sounds just like something I will enjoy! I love reading about women and there friendship 🙂

    Great Review!

  21. It’s not chick lit and that word should almost be banned. Since no one reading this review follows my site or my tweets, you are unaware that I interviewed Courtney Sullivan back in October and we talked feminism, sex trafficking and more:
    http://entertainmentrealm.com/2009/10/09/author-courtney-sullivan-on-feminism-sex-trafficking-and-her-debut-novel-commencement/

  22. It’s not chick lit and that word should almost be banned. Since no one reading this review follows my site or my tweets, you are unaware that I interviewed Courtney Sullivan back in October and we talked feminism, sex trafficking and more:
    http://entertainmentrealm.com/2009/10/09/author-courtney-sullivan-on-feminism-sex-trafficking-and-her-debut-novel-commencement/

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