Certainly Harry Potter is both taking this cake and eating this bacon, but as I've never been a British public school person, Harry & Cos experience never exactly spoke to me. Oh, it's both cozy and terrifying, the boarding school experience, but it's theoretical to me, like California. Tam Lin, by local writer Pamela Dean, much more squarely captured my experience of my first (and only) year in a small liberal arts college here in the Midwest.
Much of this novel is excruciatingly boring, and I mean that in the very best way: douchy, earnest conversations about Shakespeare; considering the various and myriad horrors of the cafeteria options; theatre; kissing. I was jealous of this book, that it captured something so mundane and so foundational for me as a person. I was so bone-crunchingly serious about my specialness, my ambition. Seeing it laid out with such a tight commonality was...well, I'm not sure I have a word.