Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Last of Her Kind

The Last of Her Kind: A Novel
Picador; Reprint edition
Reviewed by April D. Boland

The Last of Her Kind is a novel about the tumultous times of the 1960s and all that came with them - free love, political protest, iconoclastic action. But just how did these things affect the lives of the participants? Were they just fads, something to do while in college, or did they transform? Sigrid Nunez attempts to highlight questions such as these in her novel about two women with very different backgrounds who meet as college roommates in New York City at the end of the decade.

The narrator, Georgette George, has had a tumultuous home life before escaping to college. Her father had skipped out years ago, her mother is abusive, and her siblings all scatter to the winds. Her roommate, Ann Drayton, is an only child who comes from a life of privilege that she detests. She treats her doting parents like dirt and abuses them mercilessly because they are so "bourgeois." Everything she touches, from classwork to student involvement, turns to gold because of her grace and talents, and yet, years later, a shocking event in Ann's life causes Georgette to re-evaluate everything she knew or thought she knew about her friend.

The novel is interesting throughout, never lagging, and the characters are ones that you will enjoy following. It is one of those novels that makes you think about important issues without robbing you of the fun you expect from leisure reading. Excellent piece of work from Nunez; she has made a fan and future reader out of me.

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