The summer of 1989 in Miles City, Montana was a hot one. It was a summer of adventure and freedom, of too-hot afternoons and sleeping with covers thrown off in an attempt to capture some of the much appreciated breeze from an open bedroom window. And it was during that summer that Cameron Post’s life changed forever.
After Cam’s parents are killed, she is forced to live with her very conservative, very traditional Aunt Ruth. At first, Cameron seeks refuge in movies and in Lindsey, a self-proclaimed dyke from Seattle. It’s with Lindsey’s help that Cameron learns there are others like her – girls who like girls. Lindsey forces Cameron to realize that being a lesbian is not something she can turn off. But when Lindsey moves back to Seattle with her father at the end of the summer, Cameron finds herself perhaps more lost than she had been. That is, until the beautiful Coley Taylor arrives.
Coley Taylor is the it-girl – the girl that every boy wants to be with and every girl wants to be. Cameron and Coley form an immediate and dangerous friendship that leads to more than either girl is prepared for. After Coley’s boyfriend goes away for part of the summer, Coley turns her attention to Cameron. At first, the friendship is innocent. Coley is wonderful and Cameron spends her time sneaking glances and fantasizing about her while watching kissing scenes from her favorite movies. The girls finally give in to curiosity and desire while alone one summer night in Cameron’s town apartment. But when Coley confesses her scandal to conservative parents, Cameron’s legal guardian, Aunt Ruth, decides to “fix” her little problem.
When Cameron arrives at Promise, the evangelical summer camp and boarding school for children with sinful desires, she learns that all is not what it seems to be. Her teachers and mentors truly believe that by being born again and living a life closer to God will rid the mind of homosexual thoughts and desires. The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality – it’s spirituality. In a place like Promise, it’s easy to forget oneself. For Cameron, Promise becomes a catalyst for change because, even though she doesn’t believe most of what her well-meaning counselors teach, she does believe, in a small part of herself, that she does need to change – to come to terms with the death of her parents.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a compelling novel of life inside the mind of a teenage girl just discovering who she really is. It gets a 5 out of 5 rating on the must-read scale for any person wishing to understand. Cameron’s story will make you laugh and cry, will make your convictions stronger while forcing you to ask yourself why. In our so-called open-minded society, why are there still some that believe homosexuality is a curse and a disease? What are we afraid of? And how can we change? Reminiscent of Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” this book will be important for years to come.
What I liked about Cameron’s story is that it was real. It certainly wasn’t a drama-filled, cry-me-a-river-because-I’m-different kind of book. Cameron is relatable from her girlie moments to her tomboy ones and I instantly fell in love with her – and hated the counselors at Promise for trying to change her
When Cameron post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief she’ll never have to tell them that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.
But that relief soon turns to heartbreak, as Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and not making waves, and Cam becomes an expert at this – especially at avoiding any questions about her sexuality.
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. To Cam’s surprise, she and Coley become best friends-while Cam secretly dreams of something more. Just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, her secret is exposed. Ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bring Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self-even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.