Edited by Judy Sternlight
Simon & Schuster, $16.00, 306 pages
The Brown Reader features short essays penned by Brown grads about their time on College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island. Many of the authors will be instantly recognizable, while others may be new to many readers. Many of the stories work, and of course, a few of them really don’t, but this collection of essays will tug at heartstrings of nostalgia for Brown alumni, and will certainly give some delighted shared memories for anyone who fondly recalls their college days.
The collection includes a number of prominent authors: Jeffrey Eugenides begins with a comical analysis of the differences between Brown and other Ivy League schools. Next, Lois Lowry recounts a moving episode in which she leaves her family in Brooklyn for a long train ride that will begin her adulthood on College Hill. Not every story is soul-searching, however, in “The Dyslexic Brain Kicks Ass,” Jonathan Mooney recounts his four years of goofing off, going to naked parties, and passing sections of independent study, while A.J. Jacobs admits that he remembers little except the distinctive grammatical properties of the word “un-fucking-believable,” and of course, all of its derivatives. The Brown Reader is a perfect book for your favorite Brown grad, or your Providence-bound high school senior.
Reviewed by Robert C. Robinson