Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
(Vintage Contemporaries)

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Synopsis

J. Courtney Sullivan’s celebrated debut novel is a sparkling tale of friendship and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose.
 
Assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn’t have less in common. Celia, a lapsed Catholic, arrives with a bottle of vodka in her suitcase; beautiful Bree pines for the fiancé she left behind in Savannah; Sally, preppy and obsessively neat, is reeling from the loss of her mother; and April, a radical, redheaded feminist wearing a “Riot: Don’t Diet” T-shirt, wants a room transfer immediately. Written with radiant style and a wicked sense of humor, Commencement follows these unlikely friends through college and the years beyond, brilliantly capturing the complicated landscape facing young women today.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About J. Courtney Sullivan

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J. Courtney Sullivan's work has appeared in The New York Times, New York, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Men's Vogue, the New York Observer, Tango, and in the essay anthology The Secret Currency of Love. She is a graduate of Smith College, lives in Brooklyn, and works in the editorial department of The New York Times. Commencement is her first novel.
 
Published June 14, 2009 by Vintage. 434 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Commencement

Kirkus Reviews

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Sullivan’s unswervingly formulaic debut introduces Celia, April, Bree and Sally, united by their rooms on a shared hallway in King House at Smith.

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The New York Times

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She’s brave to characterize the modern female condition as equally bewildering and empowering: “They were the first generation of women,” one character notes, “whose struggle with choice had nothing to do with getting it and everything to do with having too much of it — there were so many options...

Jun 12 2009 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

Publishers Weekly

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It isn't quite love at first sight when Celia, Sally, Bree and April meet as first-year hall mates at Smith College in the late 1990s.

Mar 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

Book Reporter

Their careers take a backseat to their personal struggles, all except for April, who joins forces with an Andrea Dworkin-type documentary filmmaker who puts April's life truly in danger towards the end of the novel.

Dec 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

AV Club

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As Bree struggles with her long-term same-sex relationship and Celia plays peacemaker, the friends are rocked when April suddenly disappears while working undercover among prostitutes in Atlanta.

Jul 02 2009 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

Entertainment Weekly

A– Originally posted Jun 10, 2009 Published in issue #1052 Jun 19, 2009 Order article reprints

Jun 10 2009 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

Open Letters Monthly

I’ve sometimes thought the most radical thing Virginia Woolf ever wrote, for all her experimentalism and pacifism, was this seemingly banal passage near the end of A Room of One’s Own: And again I am reminded by dipping into newspapers and novels and biographies that when a woman speaks to ...

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Bookmarks Magazine

The Story: A dorm assignment throws together four very different women during their freshman year at Smith College.

Jun 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

Open Salon

About Michelle Zaffino Michelle Zaffino has over 15 years of magazine and online publishing writing and editing experience.

Jun 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

Marie Claire

Whether you're lounging in a hammock this summer or are jet setting across the country, this read will transport you to the shores of New England, where salty beach air, chilled white wine and succulent lobster rolls are a daily occurrence.

Jun 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Commencement (Vintage Contemp...

Reader Rating for Commencement
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