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Please Don't Kill the Freshman: A Memoirby Zoe Trope
Please Don't Kill the Freshman is a totally honest (sometimes brutally so) look at surviving high school. The author was in high school when she wrote this funny, heart-breaking, kick-ass journal-cum-novel, and you can tell: all the blood and guts of high school is right here. But it is also an eloquent portrayal of young adulthood, written by a woman wise beyond her years.
"This high school memoir by Zoe Trope takes on all the cliched aspects of high school, but its form dissolves the catalogued pop culture references and the near universal alienation felt by high school misanthropes and pulls off a precise critique. Zoe edges poetics up against descriptive laundry lists of daily events and the result is an alluring portrait of dissatisfaction and revulsion in the face of the banal intricacies of the daily high school experience. Pop references crop up augmenting events detailing the ugly face of media inundation, but in between all the lifeless trend-setting and social elbowing, Zoe finds moments of beauty and describes them with an almost unintentionally nostalgic tone. Underneath the text of this largely personal account of high school there are moments of razor sharp commentary. Zoe slices open the belly of the Gap-laden and television saturated world and exposes a buzzing tension largely ignored as she soberly explores the violence of a constantly accelerating culture."
Synopses & Reviews
I wrote a story about you. Well, sort of, see, it's mostly about me. Well, entirely about me, but here's the catch: I'm you. No, really, I mean it. Not like that transcendentalism stuff we're learning in English class, but really, truly, I'm you. I know what it feels like when your heart beats so hard against your white bone ribs, when you sing in the shower with soap in your eyes, when you run until you get a side ache. I wrote this story about you because I am so in love with you, your broken-fence teeth and your tissue-paper scars. I love you when you're so exhausted it could topple you to the ground, so in love it could snap guitar strings, so sickly sweet it could make lips smile. This is a reckless love story. This is my shameless confession.
"In Trope's memoir of her sophomore year, the teenage author struggles with society and her own identity, falls in love with a girl who becomes a boy and, in a postmodern moment, describes publishing this memoir. The paper-over-board book reads like a diary, with plenty of explicit language and sex talk; characters are given cryptic names ('Linux Shoe' is her gay best friend; 'Scully/Skull' is her 'first girlfriend turned first boifriend') and some of the writing is cryptic too. Trope juxtaposes sophisticated references and ideas next to talk of band practice and earth club, reflecting her complicated emerging identity as a bright, talented and driven teen who doesn't fit into society's mold. The entries progress in seductively brief, self-contained bites (more like fits and starts than a traditional chronological memoir) and readers will find many moments to which they can easily relate ('Forced out of slumber to argue with my hair. I claim defeat'). At times, Trope's rants can be pretentious or obvious ('I wonder when I will be content with everything and nothing that I have'), but the author's willingness to make herself vulnerable, especially in her writing about Scully's gender transformation, makes for an impressive read ('My heart knows that my boyfriend is truly genderless, a creature beyond definition, a walking heart with limbs and lips'). Ages 14-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Zoe's] writing is engaging, the cast of characters is vibrant, and the book's ability to capture high school life for those on the edge of the culture is uncanny. Readers, regardless of age, will recognize themselves in this new classic." VOYA
"Zoe Trope's tale of a frustrated freshman girl is lively, personal, and refreshingly honest. We follow her through mercurial attractions and the tedious vagaries of high school life while being treated to some of the most enlightened and original observations since Holden Caulfield first left prep school." Mark Jude Poirier, author of Goats
"Imagine all the angst and lust of high school. Now imagine having all the intellectual and emotional maturity to capture every excruciating moment. Zoe Trope has written a book for those of us who remember high school all too well...and for those of us who have blocked it out completely. Who knew that the deadening monotony of high school could inspire such passion, wit, and delectable turns of phrase? Thank god she survived her first year of high school and lived to tell us about it." Thea Hillman, author of Depending on the Light
"I am in awe of Zoe Trope. She is capable of expressing so much feeling, with such beautiful authenticity. This book is more than the kind of good story we've become satisfied with. It's more than interesting. It's art." Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything Is Illuminated
"The strength and uniqueness of [Zoe's] voice and the raw nature of her style are a welcome change. She doesn't fall into some of the conventions that plague creative nonfiction, trying to make sense of senseless events, philosophizing or meditating on every mundane detail." Orlando Sentinel
At 17, Zoe Trope has captured the attention of bestselling authors and the national media with her startling memoir of high school. Now, Zoe adds a new chapter exclusively for this paperback edition.
Please Don't Kill the Freshman is the true tale of one Portland girl's first year of high school. It signals the emergence of a true and totally original voice in the world of underground writing.
Written at the start of the new century, while the author was just fourteen, Please Don't Kill the Freshman is a brilliant and entertaining look at what really happens in today's high schools. Her name has been changed to Zoe Trope to protect the identity of herself and her friends.
About the Author
Zoe Trope exists. She was born in 1986 and graduated from high school with the class of 2003 in Oregon.
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