This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.
I was a teen of the 90s. Memories of singing “Losing My Religion” by REM or “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, reading “Sassy” magazine, and wearing Doc Martens everywhere pervade my memories of teenage life. Reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post spoke to me. The similarities are vague — I split my formative years between a small outport town and the capital city of Newfoundland, and I didn’t have sexuality issues. I was — and still am — close to my parents. However, Cameron and I shared a teenage journey: the search for self and the feeling of belonging.
In high school, I was the drama girl in a sea of jocks. Publicly the reputation of my school was based on the success of the sports teams. My lifestyle of rehearsals, lessons, and performances was different than so many of my peers. However, like Cameron, I had to be true to myself. Like Cameron, it wasn’t a choice, it was just who I was. And it is who I am. I still do things in my own way, no matter what the norm is around me. I find ways to try to make different work for me — and sometimes I even succeed in that goal. Reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post reminded me of where that all began: me and the 90s.
Teens today have it rough — while life wasn’t a bed of roses for us 90s teens, we didn’t have the complications of social media and cell phones messing with our relationships. Had this book been set today, it would have had a different tone all together. Rumors would have been sent via texting, Facebook would have had lewd pictures of the girls, Cameron would have been tracked using the GPS in her phone. Having it set in a simpler time meant that we could concentrate on her journey and not how people reacted to it. More than that, it made me appreciate my high school experience that much more — something I never thought I’d say!
The next time that “Shiny Happy People” plays on the classics station, I’ll be sure to dance along. And while I do that, I’ll think of Cameron and all the other girls in the 90s, looking for their path and finding their way. Even me.
— Alison Edwards