Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Stroll Down Memory Lane Book #11

Okay, I picked this book up off the trash pile. I was 2 seconds away from chunking it, but I opened it up and looked. I saw three greek words that applied to me, so I set it aside for POSSIBLE later perusal.

I've got a book coming in the mail, but I finished the archeology book and had some time to kill. I picked it up off the about to be trash pile and looked at it. I read this book in three days.

Pledged by Alexandra Robbins.

Ms. Robbins is a journalist who "shadowed" several young ladies through a year's experience in their sorority. I believe she was in Texas for this.

When I went away to college, I was offended that anyone would want to "pay" for friends. My freshman year, my roommate went through rush and I was just disgusted. There was a sorority girl in my philosophy class and she was just evil I thought.

I ended up talking to "Melinda" who was a friend of my roommate. She was kind and told me that maybe I just wasn't sorority material. I just couldn't comprehend their kind of world.

My sophomore year . . . for some reason I signed up for rush. I really don't remember why. I started out really skeptical but by the time we got to the "pref" party, I had pinned my hopes on two stars, a lion and azure blue and white. I "suicided" as the term goes by leaving myself one possible choice.

I found myself in the same sorority with "Melinda" and with the girl I thought so evil from my philosophy class. I learned to love them both so very well. Not because I had to but because they were beautiful, brilliant and strong young women who I admired. The one I thought evil, was just so incredibly smart that school moved too slow for her and irritated her. What I thought was evil bitchiness was just frustration that she couldn't learn at a pace that suited her. She died before we graduated and I know that all of us still mourn the loss.

When I picked up this book, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if it would be sensationalistic "girls gone wild" crap or what. I respect Ms. Robbins for trying to be as objective as possible as she explored a world that she didn't participate in. What I found in the pages of Pledged was a really clear picture of much of what I had participated in 30 years earlier.

I learned one reason why my hubby was so anti sorority. His university was mentioned several times with very specific things that make me understand why he had such strong feelings against the Greek system. I learned why my own very accomplished daughter had an even less than lukewarm response to rush at her university.

I can see why Ms. Robbins has heard from so many women that insisted that she had visited THEIR school and their sorority. I saw so many things in common with my own experience that it blows my mind. After reading this book, I'm almost convinced that she changed the house colors to protect the guilty and that she was visiting my own college and my own chapter house.

This book should be read by any parent that hopes that their child might choose to enter a sorority. What is painfully clear is that some parents will NOT read it because of their own Greek experience. There is a lot of denial going on. I think there has been for decades.

Would I still want my child to pledge a sorority? If she wanted to I would support her. Would I make the same choice for myself? I would. It was an experience that gave me confidence in myself. I wouldn't have done it any other way.

This book made me look at the Greek system. It made me look at myself. Ms. Robbins did an amazingly objective job of looking at the experience of the girls that she shadowed. She passed no judgments on them; she merely recorded their experiences and their responses to those experiences.

It's a good read!