By Patricia Weitz
Opening with a "snapshot" of the main character, College Girl instantly becomes a story that the reader knows they will be able to relate to, in that the protagonist has flaws. She could be any one of us. She knows she is attractive to some, but not all. She is curvy and not tall and not short. Her nails have been chewed and she gets pimples frequently. Her lips are full and her stomach is flat.
Natalie is a senior at the University of Connecticut. She is unique but she still has the exact same insecurities anyone has at that age. It is how she copes with these insecurities that makes her different and ultimately leads her down a destructive path. She is incredibly likeable though, which creates an affinity between the reader and Natalie. Thus, she is easy to cheer for; everyone will want her to succeed at finding her true self.
It is unfortunate that so many of the people in Natalie's life are self-centered. Their faults and inability to be there for Natalie will either break her or give her a greater resolve to surmount the obstacles in her path.
Patricia Weitz has done a laudable job of creating a world that any reader can identify with; Natalie's boyfriend is the same jerk I dated in highschool. And after I broke up with him, I dated another one just like him in college. College Girl is comforting because it proves that all of us experience these situations at some point in our life.
College Girl is a fast book that is incredibly easy to read. It evokes a full of emotions: happiness for Natalie's good grades and attractive suitors, sorrow at the destructive path Natalie goes careening down as she tries to make herself more loveable. Every character is someone we have known at one point in our life, so the image of each participant in the book is easy to conjure up in our minds.
I recommend reading College Girl; anyone who has ever gone to school, struggled with self-image or dated will enjoy this story of searching for, and finding, one's true self.