By Lacy Crawford
William Morrow, $25.99, 294 pages
From the dead fish in her freezer, saved out of paranoia of causing it pain to her uncertain daydreams of the sex fantasies of her forty-something almost-famous actor boyfriend, Lacy Crawford’s protagonist in her debut novel Early Decision is a stream of consciousness late-twenty-something mess.
Anne, a University of Chicago English doctoral drop-out earns her money by helping privileged rich kids get into the schools of their dreams while waiting for her actor boyfriend to strike it rich out in Los Angeles. The vast majority of the students she works with are the elite privileged, who have spent years committing to community service or sports, but somehow cannot write a personal statement to save their lives. Anne’s only redeeming quality is her passion for an incredibly intelligent, underprivileged student, who only has a prayer of getting in if one of the parents Anne works with can be convinced to pull some strings.
The prose is thin and watery. Working through Anne’s unconfident stream of consciousness mumblings was like walking through quicksand – slowly and painfully one is pulled in. The denouement of the novel finally pulls together the remaining strands of frustration, insecurity and uncertainty and sets the reader at ease from all the prickly annoying thoughts of the protagonist.
Reviewed by Nathanial Garrod