Emily M. Danforth – The miseducation of Cameron Post

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Emily M. Danforth – The miseducation of Cameron Post

Cameron Post feels a mix of guilt and relief when her parents die in a car accident. Their deaths mean they will never learn the truth she eventually comes to--that she's gay. Orphaned, Cameron comes to live with her old-fashioned grandmother and ultraconservative aunt Ruth. There she falls in love with her best friend, a beautiful cowgirl. When she's eventually outed, her aunt sends her to God's Promise, a religious conversion camp that is supposed to cure her homosexuality. At the camp, Cameron comes face to face with the cost of denying her true identity.

Informatie over het boek
Emily M. Danforth - The miseducation of Cameron Post
Balzer + Bray (VS) 2013
Bladzijden: 480
Leeftijd: 15+

 

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Mijn samenvatting

The afternoon my parents died, I was out shoplifting with Irene Klauson.
Mom and Dad had left for their annual summer camping trip to Quake Lake the day before, and Grandpa Post was down from Billings minding me, so it only took a little convincing to get her to let me have Irene spend the night. “It’s too hot for shenanigans, Cameron,” Grandma had told me, right after she said yes. “But we gals still have us a time.”
Miles City had been cooking in the high nineties for days, and it was only the end of June, hot even for eastern Montana. It was the kind of heat where a breeze feels like someone’s venting a dryer out over the town, whipping dust and making the cottonseeds from the big cottonweeds float across a wide blue sky and colelct in soft tufts on neighborhood lawns. Irene and I called it summer snow, and sometimes we’d squint into the dry glare and try to catch cotton on our tongues. (blz. 3)

Cameron en Irene zijn bijna 13 jaar en ze zijn beste vriendinnen. Het is zomervakantie en bloedheet in Montana. Cameron logeert bij Irene omdat haar ouders een paar dagen op vakantie zijn. Ze zitten samen op de hooizolder bij de boerderij van Irene’s ouders. Ze hebben het over zoenen en Irene daagt Cameron uit om haar te kussen. Dat doet Cameron. Het voelt goed om elkaar te zoenen…

The first stars flickered on like the lights over the movie marquee downtown. Irene asked me, “Do you think we’d get in trouble if anyone found out?”
“Yeah,” I said right away, because though no one had ever told me, specifically, not to kiss a girl before, nobody had to. It was guys and girls who kissed – in our grade, on TV, in the movies, in the world; and that’s how it worked: guys and girls. Anything else was something weird. And even though I’d seen girls our age hold hands or walk arm in arm, and probably some of those girls had practised kissing on each other, I knew that what we had done in the barn was something different. Something more serious, grown-up, like Irene had said. We hadn’t kissed each other just to practise. Not really. At least I didn’t think so. But I didn’t tell any of that to Irene. She knew it too.
“We’re good at secrets,” I finally said. “It’s not like we ever have to tell anybody.” Irene didn’t answer, and in the dark I couldn’t quite make out what face she had on. Everything hung there in that hot, sweet smell while I waited for her to say something back.
“Okay. But – “ Irene started when the back porch light flicked on, Grandma Post’s squat frame silhouetted in the screen door.
“About time to come in, gals,” she told us. “We can have ice cream before bed.”
We watched the silhouette move from the door, back toward the kitchen.
“But what, Irene?” I whsipered, though I knew Grandma probably couldn’t have heard me even if she was standing in the backyard.
Irene took a breath. I heard it. Just a little. “But do you think we can do it again, though, Cam?”
“If we’re careful,” I said. I’m guessing she could see me blush even in that much darkness, but it’s not like Irene needed to see it anyway: She knew. She always knew. (blz. 10)

Midden in de nacht wordt er op de kamerdeur van Irene geklopt. Het is haar vader. De oma van Cameron heeft gebeld en ze moet onmiddellijk naar huis komen. Hij vertelt niet waarom ze naar huis moet komen. Cameron denkt dat het vast te maken heeft met het zoenen met Irene.

I had been bracing myself that whole pickup ride to hear how ashamed Grandma was of me, and instead she was crying, and I’d never seen Grandma Post cry like this, I’d never seen anyone cry like this. And she was making no sense, talking about some far-off car accident, and a news broadcast, and my dead parents, and calling me a brave girl and stroking my hair and hugging me to her soft chest, her talcum powder and Aqua Net smell. I felt a wave of heat prickle across me, and then the nausea, all-consuming, as if I was taking it in with every breaht, like my body was reacting since my head wasn’t doing it right. How, if my parents were dead, could there still be some part of me that felt relief at not being found out?
Grandma clutched me tighter, heaving with sobs, and I had to turn my head away from her sweet smell, the smother of that flannel housecoat, and pull myself out of her reach, run with my hand over my mouth to the bathroom, and even then there was no time to lift up the lid on the toilet. I threw up into the sink, onto the counter, and then slid down to the floor, let the blue and white tiles cool my cheeck.
I didn’t know it then, but the sickness, the prickly flush of heat, and the feeling of swimming in a kind of darkness I couldn’t have ever imagined, all the things I had done since I’d last seen my parents bobbing around me, lit up against the dark – the kisses, the gum, Irene, Irene, Irene, – all of that was guilt: real, crushing guilt. From that tile floor I let myself sink down into it, down and down until my lungs burned, like when I was in the deep wells beneath the diving boards at the lake. (blz. 29)

Cameron voelt zich schuldig aan de dood van haar ouders. Ze overtuigd zichzelf ervan dat God dit heeft gedaan om haar te straffen voor het zoenen met Irene. Het leven voor Cameron verandert. Haar oma en haar tante Ruth komen bij haar in huis wonen. Tante Ruth is een overtuigd christen en neemt Cameron mee naar haar kerk, Gates of Praise (GOP) (letterlijk vertaald: poorten van lof). Hier hoort Cameron hoe slecht homosexualiteit is…

In de zomervakantie doet Cameron mee aan zwemwedstrijden. Hier ontmoet ze Lindsey en ze kunnen het goed met elkaar vinden.

What I’d been doing with Lindsey all summer somehow didn’t seem as intense as whatever Irene and I had shared, even though we had been younger. With Irene nothing we were doing of feeling was named as part of anything bigger than just the two of us. With Lindsey, everything was. She started me in on the language of gay; she sometimes talkes about how liking girls is political and revolutionary and counter-cultural, all these names and terms that I didn’t even know that I was supposed to know, and a bunch of other things I didn’t really understand and I’m nog sure that she did then, either – though she’d never have let on. I hadn’t ever really thought about any of that stuff. I just liked girls because I couldn’t help no to. I’d certainly never considered that someday my feelings might grant me access to a community of like-minded women. If anything, weekly services at Gates of Praise had assured me of exactly the opposite. How could I possibly believe Lindsey when she told me that two women could live together like man and wife, and even be accepted, when Pastor Crawford spoke with such authority about the wicked perversion of homosexuality? Not that he ever really said the word sex, even when it burritoed inside another word; it came out more like “homo-sesh-oo-ality” and even more often simply as “sickness” and “sin”. (blz. 99)

Na de zomervakantie blijven Lindsey en Cameron met elkaar in contact. Ze sturen elkaar brieven en hebben lange telefoongesprekken. Cameron vertelt aan niemand waar hun gesprekken over gaan. En in de maanden na de zomervakantie wordt Cameron verliefd op Coley. Coley zit bij haar op school en ze kent haar van GOP. Er is wel een probleem: Coley heeft een vriendje. Cameron doet haar best om haar gevoelens aan niemand te laten merken. Ze weet zeker dat homosexualiteit in haar dorp niet zal worden geaccepteerd. Als het weer zomervakantie is gebeurt er iets tussen Cameron en Coley. Ze zoenen elkaar en dat vinden ze allebei prettig. Stiekem doen ze dit vaker. Maar dan komt de broer van Coley erachter en het leven van Cameron stort in…

“I know you can see how difficult this is for all of us,” Pastor Crawford said. “And we know that this is going to be very difficult for you as well.” He reached out like he was gonna do the hand on my shoulder again, but then reconsidered and instead motioned me toward the club chair.
I went, thinking in those few moments that this all must have something to do with Lindsey, her packages and letters, maybe even those locker-room photos we’d taken, all of it evidence against me. I can’t quite explain why I focused on Lindsey and only Lindsey, but that’s what happened: I was convinced, sitting in that club chair, pulling my knees up into my chest, looking at no one, that this chat absolutely had to do with all that mail between us.
And so I was already working on the ways that I’d blame all this on Lindsey, her influence, her wicked, big-city abominations, when Crawford said, “Coley Taylor and her mother came to my house last night”, and his words crashed through me like someone smashing cymbals together over my head. Ruth leaned into Ray, letting his blue-work-shirted chest do a better job that her hand of muffling her even bigger sobs.
From there on I had a hard time following Crawford’s narrative. I tuned in and out, in and out, like a fucked-up set of earphones with a wire loose. I heard all of his words, I mean, I was right there and he was talking to me, but it was like he was telling some complicated, embarrassing story about somebody else. He told me about how Ty and the drunken cowboys had wrangled a story, “the truth”, out of Coley after I had left her apartment two nights before, and in that story, “the truth”, I was the pursuer and Coley the innocent friend, and a very angry Ty had convinced her to go to Mrs. Taylor the following morning, and Coley had then told her mother about Lindsey’s corruption of me and my attempted corruption of her, my sick infatuation, and how she felt sorry for me, and how I needed help: God’s help. Then Pastor Crawford told me about how he had had to deal with the news, how he had visited Ruth that morning, before she got in the Fetus Mobile for her sales trip to Broadus, me at Scanlan teaching my Level Threes the elementary backstroke – chicken, airplane, soldier, repeat, repeat- he and Ruth on the couch staring down the details of my ugly, sinful behavior. Once Ruth could pull herself together enough to stand, and that took hours, the two of them had searched my room, and there it all was: the mail I had wrongly thought of as the cause, not the casue at all but instead the corroborating proof to Coley’s accusations, the leters and the videos and the note from Jamie, the photoes, the mix tapes, the fucking stack of movie tickets I’d rubber-banded together and had been saving for the dollhouse, the dollhouse itself. But who could make any sense of that? (blz. 247)

Cameron wordt door haar familie naar een soort heropvoedingskamp gestuurd. Dit wordt geleid door iemand van GOP en de gedachte erachter is dat als je je maar genoeg aan God wijdt dat je homosexuele gevoelens zullen verdwijnen en de jongeren weer ‘normaal’ worden.

The longer I stayed at Promise, the more all the stuff they were throwing at me, at us, started to stick, just like to those sticky hands, in little bit, at first, random pieces, no big deal. For instance, maybe I’d be in bed during lights out and I’d start to think about Coley and kissing Coley, and doing more with Coley, or Lindsey, or whomever, Michelle Pfeiffer. But then I might hear Lydia’s voice saying, You have to fight these sinful impulses: fight, it’s not supposed to be easy to fight sin, and I might totally ignore it, or even laugh to myself about what an idiot she was, but there it would be, her voice, in my head, where it hadn’t been before. And it was other stuff too, these bits and pieces of doctrine, of scripture, of life lessons here and there, until more and more of them were coated on, along for the ride, and I didn;t consistently question where they had come from, or why they were there, but I did start to feel kind of weighed down by them. (blz. 361)

Zal Cameron door dit heropvoedingskamp van haar homosexuele gevoelens afkomen? Wanneer mag ze weer naar huis komen? Zal het contact met haar familie zich herstellen?

 

Mening over het boek

Recensie van Mathilde (ouder dan 18 jaar)
Heb je het boek uitgelezen?
Ja
Wat vind je van het boek?
★★★★☆ – goed
Waarom heb je dit boek uitgekozen om te lezen?
Ik vond de tekst op de achterkant leuk, dit boek was uitgekozen voor de Bored to death YA book club van februari
Welke steekwoorden passen bij het boek?
fascinerend, grappig, ontroerend, realistisch, zielig
Hoe kom je aan het boek?
Zelf gekocht
Zitten er plaatjes (illustraties) in het boek?
Nee
Wat vind je leuk aan het boek?
Cameron vertelt haar verhaal als ze volgens mij al volwassen is. Ze blikt terug op haar jeugd en hoe ze erachter kwam dat ze lesbisch is. Het verhaal is goed geschreven en geeft een duidelijk beeld hoe het leven in de jaren 90 op het platteland van de Verenigde Staten was voor een meisje met homosexuele gevoelens.
Wat vind je niet leuk aan het boek?
Ik vind het niet leuk dat Cameron niet geaccepteerd wordt zoals ze is.
Is er iemand uit het boek die je in het echt zou willen ontmoeten? Wat zou je dan samen gaan doen?
Cameron
Wil je nog iets anders vertellen over het boek?
Het verhaal gaat over een meisje dat homosexueel is en door haar familie op een gegeven moment naar een christelijk heropvoedingskamp wordt gestuurd. Het lijkt nogal ouderwets, maar er zijn helaas nog steeds mensen die denken dat homosexualiteit een ziekte is die genezen kan worden als je maar genoeg in God gelooft. Niet alleen in Amerika maar ook in Nederland…
Dit boek is niet vertaald in het Nederlands.

Is het boek moeilijk of gemakkelijk te lezen?
Gemiddeld
Zitten er moeilijke woorden in het boek?
Nee
Wil je het boek nog een keer lezen?
Ik wil het boek misschien nog een keer lezen, Ik wil andere boeken van deze schrijver lezen
Aan wie zou je dit boek aanraden?
Aan jongeren vanaf 15 jaar

 

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