This article is from 2006.
With the release of two coming-of-age dramas, Curtis Sittenfeld has become a darling of the literary circuit as well as women’s magazines. Since winning a fiction contest in Seventeen while in attendance at a Massachusetts prep school, Sittenfeld has enjoyed a career as a writer and teacher, achieving prominence with 2005’s study of teenage angst and ambition, Prep. The esteemed author’s debut followed scholarship student Lee Fiora through her time at a New England boarding school, her Indiana upbringing no preparation for the bewildering class, race and gender politics that await her.
Such is the candour and humour of her writing, Prep was notable not least for a disbelief that Sittenfeld herself had not exhibited any of the introverted personality traits of her protagonist as a teenager. With her second novel, released earlier this summer, Sittenfeld returned to the theme of young women finding their place in the world and the disparity between a rose-tinted expectation and its complex reality. The Man of My Dreams charts 15 years in the life of a young woman, from 14 to adulthood proper, as she comes to terms with the possibility of her romantic ideals remaining unfulfilled. (Mark Edmundson)
26 Aug (with Claire Messud), 7.30pm, £5 (£3).