OK, you know I've taken vacation reading to a new low when I start finding books in the Young Adult section. Even worse, I'm going to blame my daughter. I was at the library with Littlehazel last week, trying desperately not to look at the new adult fiction section that tends to get me in trouble, and I spied Nancy Mace's In the Company of Men: A Woman at The Citadel (Simon & Schuster, 2001) in the YA paperback rack. You can guess the rest.
The author, Mace, was 1 of 4 women admitted to The Citadel in 1996 (the year after the Shannon Faulkner fiasco), and the first to actually graduate. The book is mostly what you'd expect from the memoir of someone who enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame, but was an interesting quick read nonetheless; Mace comes off as fairly modest, neither overdramatizing nor sugar-coating her experience, and provides what's probably a more balanced, realistic account of the knob year than readers of The Lords of Discipline might expect. As she tells it, she entered The Citadel mainly to preserve a family tradition; her father was a well-known Citadel alum, and in fact became Commandant of the Corps during her tenure there. The book focuses mainly on her arrival and first (knob) year at the school, and isn't without humor; the overreaction of her COs to her first menstrual emergency on campus, and the embarrassed reaction of a senior on confiscating what looked like a forbidden food package only to find a box of tampons are two examples. Her overall attitude here seems pretty matter-of-fact: yes, she bore some harrassment solely for being female, but also garnered lots of encouragement for her determination -- most notably, from an upperclassmen who, a week after accusing her of "ruining" his school, admired her Hell Night fortitude, and made her promise not to quit.
All right, enough blogging -- time to get something productive done now.
- Ithaca, New York
- MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.