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Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities

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Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities Cover

ISBN13: 9781401300463
ISBN10: 1401300464
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Less Than Standard
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Review-A-Day

"Robbins grapples with a terrific amount of research on Greek life, and the book that results is fascinating and, in the end, highly alarming. Pledged is amazing in the same way that reality TV is amazing: It's the car crash you can't take your eyes off of, it's the Jerry Springer episode where you have to find out if that midget chick is really a dude, it's the makeover show where you have to see what the drag-queen-looking freakshow that comes striding up to the mirror for her 'reveal' looks like now..." Sacha Zimmerman, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ever wonder what really goes on behind a sorority's closed doors?

New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Robbins became curious about whether the stereotypes of sororities were actually true, so she spent a year undercover with a group of girls in a typical sorority. The sororities' sordid behavior exceeded her worst expectations — drugs, psychological abuse, extreme promiscuity, racism, violence, and rampant eating disorders were just a few of the problems. But even more surprising was the fact that these abuses were inflicted and endured by intelligent, successful, and attractive young women.

Why is the desire to belong to a sorority so powerful that women are willing to engage in this type of behavior — especially when the women involved are supposed to be considered "sisters"? What does membership in these ritualistic groups truly require of a sister?

Robbins introduces us to Vicki, Sabrina, Caitlin, and Amy, sorority sisters who could each be the girl next door. As Robbins joins in their sorority life — from their giddy highs to their abysmal lows — she conveys the perspective of a sorority girl with the eyes of an outsider. Better than anyone else, Robbins understands what drives these young women and their friends — their passions and their fears. The result is an extraordinarily compelling narrative that reads like a bestselling novel.

With fly-on-the-wall voyeurism and remarkable insight, Pledged manages to both expose the dark side of sorority life and endear its participants to us.

Review:

"Robbins makes suggestions for reforming sororities — more adult supervision, ending pledging, etc. — although the demystification that comes from reading her front-line account may be the best prescription." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Where the author really scores is in her analysis of why otherwise intelligent and sensitive women would sacrifice their independence, and often self-respect, for the sake of an artificially engineered secret society." Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

Review:

"Fascinating and eye-opening...Pledged is still a powerful warning and an astonishing slice of American life." Washington Monthly

Review:

"The narrative...is better than reality TV — it's riveting." Elle Girl

Book News Annotation:

Here we find lushes, trollops, bigots, sadists, masochists, anorexics, and those made mad by unrequited lust for election as Prom Queen. Journalist Robbins takes a novelistic approach as she joins the "sisters" of a real-life sorority to prove that all that has been said about their entrance standards, rituals, systems of judgment and punishment, over-the-top lifestyle, and lifelong loyalty is true. She follows the stories of several women who could be considered ambitious, attractive, and intelligent as they make choices based on unhealthy regard for themselves and others. The subtext here is that these women will go on to be business and civic leaders.
Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

The author of Secrets of the Tomb offers a fast-paced, behind the scenes book that blows the lid off the intriguing world of mainstream sorority life.

Synopsis:

Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller--with over 91,000 copies in print--that takes you behind closed doors to see what really goes on in America's sororities.

Ever wonder what sorority life is really like? In Pledged, bestselling author Alexandra Robbins goes undercover to expose the dark side of collegiate sisterhood--the psychological abuse, hazing rituals, and widespread body image disorders--while at the same time introducing us to many of the intelligent, successful women within its ranks. The result is a compelling sociological exploration of the powerful influence that these organizations wield over young women today. With its fly-on-the-wall voyeurism and remarkable insight, Pledged paints a sharp-eyed portrait of the intriguing and paradoxical world of modern-day sororities.

Synopsis:

Alexandra Robbins wanted to find out if the stereotypes about sorority girls were actually true, so she spent a year with a group of girls in a typical sorority. The sordid behavior of sorority girls exceeded her worst expectations--drugs, psychological abuse, extreme promiscuity, racism, violence, and rampant eating disorders are just a few of the problems. But even more surprising was the fact that these abuses were inflicted and endured by intelligent, successful, and attractive women. Why is the desire to belong to a sorority so powerful that women are willing to engage in this type of behavior--especially when the women involved are supposed to be considered 'sisters'? What definition of sisterhood do many women embrace? Pledged combines a sharp-eyed narrative with extensive reporting and the fly-on-the-wall voyeurism of reality shows to provide the answer.

About the Author

Alexandra Robbins, a contributing writer at Cosmopolitan and a former staff member of The New Yorker, is the author of Secrets of the Tomb and the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Quarterlife Crisis. She appears regularly in the national media, on such shows as the Today show, Oprah, CNN's Daybreak, and the Early Show, and her work has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, USA Today, Self, and Mademoiselle. She lives outside Washington, D.C.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

sororitylover, March 7, 2008 (view all comments by sororitylover)
I have read this book and even as a sister of one of the sororities mentioned in this excerpt above I loved every page of it. Yes, parts of the stories were far more extreme than what goes on in my sorority but at the same time I close friends in other sororities who have stories that seem very similar in comparison to those written about by Robbins. I feel that much of the information in the book that people are complaining about is just the result of sorority girls being overly protective of the Greek Community as a whole, and that it is not as far off from the truth as they want to think it is. Robbins never says that all fraternity brothers rape girls or that all sorority sisters get raped, in fact she that she would be wrong if she was to imply that in her writing. At the same time though, I have found myself on more than one occasion having to practically FIGHT off a fraternity brother from on top of me, but I also would be wrong if I said that it was only males in the Greek Community that act in this manner. The majority of the book, I believe, shines a light of humor on the internal affairs that take place within a sorority. After reading this book I realized that half of the things which are argued about within a chapter, like my own, are stupid and truly unimportant in the long run for the sorority. It also made me more aware consciously to how overly judgmental my sisters, and even myself, can be towards outsiders and many times the insiders (meaning fellow sisters).
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FraternityWoman08, April 26, 2007 (view all comments by FraternityWoman08)
After attending a recent Greek speaker, I decided to pick this book up. I was truly amazed at how stretched some of the information in this book seemed. I am a sister of a national women's fraternity (we were founded in the 1800's before the coinage of the word sorority). To let you in on the secret life of sorority girls and fraternity men... Yes, we do have secrets just like any other order or society (Freemasons, and even branches of the military have secret initiations, handshakes, etc...). Why? Because publishing all rituals (which by the way isn't a bad word, although it is portrayed that way in this book) and other secrets would take away some of the feelings of priveledge of membership. I am honored to be a sister. I am trusted with these rituals and secrets and will always uphold the bonds of sisterhood and maintain my pledge of secrecy.
If you want a view into our social lives, I'll give it to you. It's not nearly as exciting as you might have hoped. This week, my chapter had a pool tournament and a cookout/cornhole game with another fraternity. None of these events involved alcohol. We had a fundraiser for our philanthropy and raised several hundred dollars for sick and needy children. We also sent over 200 handmade birthday cards to a young boy terminally ill with cancer. We also picked up pop tabs from a nursing home -- they're helping us with our pop tab drive for Ronald McDonald House.
Another sorority on campus finished their philanthropy events for the year this week. They ended up raising over $2,000 this year for children with diabetes. Other Greeks on campus raised money for philanthropies including YouthAids, March of Dimes, breast cancer research, the hearing/speech impaired, Homeless for Hunger, Canine Companions for the blind, and terminally ill children.
Another staggering statistic that I'd like to include, since according to this book full of Greek bashing, 84% of all officers in non-Greek clubs (i.e. history club, Spanish club, other academic honorary societies, and musical organizations) are indeed Greek. We are upheld to strict academic regulations with a 3.00 to 3.5 minimum GPA required for most organizations on campus. Most importantly, no national fraternity or sorority promotes hazing of any kind wether it be physical punishment, mental abuse, or forced drinking. There are always unfortunately going to be bad chapters on bad campuses, just as there will always be hazing in some sports programs, etc. As a whole, Greeks are the leaders of our campus -- the men and women striving to make a difference both on campus and in the community.
I liken this reading this book for the insight to Greek life to reading the National Enquirer for your news. If you would like an over the top portrayal of college life, I'd suggest watching Animal House instead. It's much funnier and everyone loves Belushi in a toga.
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(9 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
sororitygurl4life, May 10, 2006 (view all comments by sororitygurl4life)
Robbins takes on a mission that has been tried to many times. The reason panhellenic sororities cannot allow her to interview and stay in a panhellenic sorority is because these sororities are national. If one sorority is hazing that doesn't mean every other sorority is. Therefore, to eliminate this panhellenic will not allow her in,same goes for when sorority girls are interviewed we can give our opinion but never represent the chapter incase we say something that offends other people, it won' t be cast upon our sorority.
I read the book it was interesting and alluring; however, i have to confess my sorority which is perhaps just mine but i know we do hospital visits, we do spghetti dinners, we do oyster roasts, and carnavals for our philanthropy... i believe in this book robbins took the usual reporter route and did what ever she could to broadcasts sororities in a negative aspect. She does not cover the girls academics, their philanthropic work, their involvement in campus organizations, sisterhood, big sis lil sis, nor does she talk about what the creed of each of theses sororities mean to the 4 girls she followed around. In my opinion robbins struggled to write something people would buy to read the gossip, the positive aspects of sorority life are never looked at and i believe robbins failed at her job as a writer, to write a non-fiction book based on truth and actuallity.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781401300463
Subtitle:
The Secret Life of Sororities
Author:
Robbins, Alexandra
Publisher:
Hyperion
Location:
New York
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Higher
Subject:
Conduct of life
Subject:
Students & Student Life
Subject:
Greek letter societies
Subject:
Women college students
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
Women's Studies
Subject:
Greek letter societies -- United States.
Subject:
Women -- Education (Higher) -- Social aspects.
Subject:
Gender Studies-Womens Studies
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series Volume:
1260
Publication Date:
20040414
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 8 up to 17
Language:
English
Pages:
380
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in 22.4 oz
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Education » General
Education » Higher Education
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » Sex and Power
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities Used Hardcover
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$7.50 In Stock
Product details 380 pages Hyperion Books - English 9781401300463 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Robbins makes suggestions for reforming sororities — more adult supervision, ending pledging, etc. — although the demystification that comes from reading her front-line account may be the best prescription." Publishers Weekly
"Review A Day" by , "Robbins grapples with a terrific amount of research on Greek life, and the book that results is fascinating and, in the end, highly alarming. Pledged is amazing in the same way that reality TV is amazing: It's the car crash you can't take your eyes off of, it's the Jerry Springer episode where you have to find out if that midget chick is really a dude, it's the makeover show where you have to see what the drag-queen-looking freakshow that comes striding up to the mirror for her 'reveal' looks like now..." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "Where the author really scores is in her analysis of why otherwise intelligent and sensitive women would sacrifice their independence, and often self-respect, for the sake of an artificially engineered secret society."
"Review" by , "Fascinating and eye-opening...Pledged is still a powerful warning and an astonishing slice of American life." Washington Monthly
"Review" by , "The narrative...is better than reality TV — it's riveting."
"Synopsis" by , The author of Secrets of the Tomb offers a fast-paced, behind the scenes book that blows the lid off the intriguing world of mainstream sorority life.
"Synopsis" by , Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller--with over 91,000 copies in print--that takes you behind closed doors to see what really goes on in America's sororities.

Ever wonder what sorority life is really like? In Pledged, bestselling author Alexandra Robbins goes undercover to expose the dark side of collegiate sisterhood--the psychological abuse, hazing rituals, and widespread body image disorders--while at the same time introducing us to many of the intelligent, successful women within its ranks. The result is a compelling sociological exploration of the powerful influence that these organizations wield over young women today. With its fly-on-the-wall voyeurism and remarkable insight, Pledged paints a sharp-eyed portrait of the intriguing and paradoxical world of modern-day sororities.
"Synopsis" by , Alexandra Robbins wanted to find out if the stereotypes about sorority girls were actually true, so she spent a year with a group of girls in a typical sorority. The sordid behavior of sorority girls exceeded her worst expectations--drugs, psychological abuse, extreme promiscuity, racism, violence, and rampant eating disorders are just a few of the problems. But even more surprising was the fact that these abuses were inflicted and endured by intelligent, successful, and attractive women. Why is the desire to belong to a sorority so powerful that women are willing to engage in this type of behavior--especially when the women involved are supposed to be considered 'sisters'? What definition of sisterhood do many women embrace? Pledged combines a sharp-eyed narrative with extensive reporting and the fly-on-the-wall voyeurism of reality shows to provide the answer.
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