8.16.2004

As promised, a review of Alexandra Robbins' sorority expose, Pledged:

The Not So Secret Life of Sororities, by "Esme Scott"

When my best friend suggested I read this book, my first thought was, yeah right, like I'm really going to waste my time reading some dramatic cheeseball story about sorority life. But after she made me read the first few pages, I could hardly put the thing down! As a college sophomore in a sorority, I found things I could relate to in almost every chapter. When Ms. Robbins brought up the subject of money and incredibly high sorority dues, I immediately thought of my best friend, who had to shell over $500 for Rush outfits-for a mere three days. About two weeks after I finished the book, a good friend of mine in my sorority sent out an email to our pledge class; since the price of tuition and books had increased, she could no longer afford to pay her dues.

Whether you are in a Greek organization or not, I strongly suggest you read this book if you have any interest in going beyond the hype and stereotypes to get a personal account of the reality of sorority life in certain schools. Ms. Robbins does an excellent job explaining the terms and abbreviations used, such as "NPC" and "Greek." At first, I was appalled that she revealed secret information about sororities, including my own. The oaths that we take are a key part of our traditions; they uphold our values and strengthen the bonds of our sisterhood. But then I got over it-half the stuff in there I had already heard by word of mouth. I would never personally reveal my sorority's sacred rituals or handshake, but there are some women out there who do not see anything wrong with it.

I thought this was a great book because it gave me a glimpse of what Greek life is like at other schools. As for the topic of hazing during the pledging process, we were totally pampered in comparison to my friends pledging other sororities, but I knew of several young women who were subjected to "light" hazing. Even though Ms. Robbins stressed that she only followed four women in different sororities, by the end of the book I felt that she had sort of depicted we sorority girls as a pack of anorexic alcoholics obsessed with boys and clothes. And the lives of sororities aren't so secret when you think about how many other college women behave. The book is dry as toast sometimes, but it is still difficult to put down since it keeps you guessing. Therefore, I give this book an A-.

"Esme Scott" is a sorority member at a university on the East Coast.

-Lauren

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