“Pledges don’t want pity. They just want to endure.”
Before I begin, this book has some serious triggers in it. Eating disorders, self-harm, drug use, abuse, and addition, animal cruelty, bullying, and I’m sure I missed a few. Basically, if it’s upsetting and triggering, it’s probably in the book.
Sorority is a difficult book to summarize, because it isn’t exactly a novel. It reads more like connected short stories where each chapter represents a different girl in the house. But even that is tricky because our timelines jump all over the place and each girl’s story is a glimpse into their own lives, not necessarily their lives in the house during a specific time.
The one story that is interwoven the most is the death of Margot. Some girls are directly impacted, while others only know the story after the fact. So even that as a plot line feels disjointed.
I really enjoyed the dark vibes Sorority gives. This is not the bright cheerful story where girls are all besties cheerleading their way through meetings. It felt more devious, where girls strive for perfection and a nice exterior while hiding the attributes they consider flaws. But this is also where I felt the novella fell apart.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the vivid realness Crane gives us. Because we all do have personality quirks, and habits, and details about ourselves that we are critical of and wish we could hide or change. I get that. But instead of feeling like I got a dose of what living in a sorority is really like, all I took away is that every single girl in this particular Sorority has some serious issues.
Maybe it’s because we only get a chapter, sometimes more for a few girls, but we really don’t get the ability to see anything into their psyche more than a glimpse. It comes across as stereotypical rather than deeply insightful.
I’ll admit, I’ve never been in a sorority. I’ve never been super close with girls who have. And while I get that even those cheerful Legally Blonde personality types all struggle with their own inner demons, I found it unlikely that there wasn’t a single normal girl represented. Are all sorority girls devious and jealous? Are they all secretly judging and plotting and merely tolerating their friends? Because that is certainly the impression Sorority gives.
The writing is solid, and again, I really did like the premise we get. Appearances can be deceiving. People are often more than they appear to be. But I think that Sorority could have gone farther and deeper if it had been written as a cohesive story. There were too many girls to connect, with too many disjointed stories and timelines. As a whole, I felt that the girls and their problems came across as boxes to be checked rather than any insightful looks at the drivers of various personalities and struggles.
In all, it’s entertaining but doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. Which is really disappointing, because I think that there was some serious potential wrapped in this story.
I read this book with my friend Catriona @fabulous_book_fiend 🖤 Snapchat filter chats DEFINITELY made this better!