I was doing my little stand-up shtick, the one I did for pretty girls, so they’d like me quickly and wouldn’t try too hard to actually get to know me beyond my role as wisecracking Cameron the orphan.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth tells the story of Cameron Post, a 12 year-old who lives in a small town in Montana. Cameron’s relationship with her best friend Irene becomes more than friendship, leaving Cameron feeling confused and excited. When her parents are killed in a car crash Cameron’s first thought is that at least they won’t find out that their daughter is gay.
Divided into three parts; Summer 1989, High School 1991-1992 and God’s Promise 1992-1993, we follow Cameron as she explores her sexuality, falls in love and faces the consequences of being from an ultraconservative community.
Those consequences are being sent to God’s Promise by her aunt Ruth. God’s Promise is a religious conversion camp that is supposed to “cure” Cameron and its other attendants of their homosexuality.
I found the depiction of the religious conversion camp the most uncomfortable aspect to read. So called gay conversion therapy is a dangerous practice that is detrimental to LGBTQ* people. There are no two ways about it. You cannot simply pray away the gay.
Cameron and the friends she makes know the camp is bullshit, but they still have to survive there. So they construct facades to convince their “counsellors” they are making progress in realising the error of their ways. When something happens to one of the camp attendants everyone is shaken to the core.
Overall, The Miseducation of Cameron Post felt like a short story that had been extended. There were whole pages that didn’t add anything to the progression of the story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all well written but it dragged on and as a result I didn’t connect with Cameron as much as I would have liked.
Upon reading the acknowledgements I discovered that Danforth had originally devised the idea as a short story. I think I would have preferred it to remain in that format.