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These diary excerpts are contained in a narrative that examines that freshman experience from a vantage point of twenty years. Thus, we are able to look at the past with a double perspective: The exact record, unclouded by memory or nostalgia, of what was said and done is set in a structure that reveals the form of the experience. The result is an ironic, witty, and often moving book.
Writing with some compassion and even more asperity,
Peter S. Prescott not only captures the conflicts and emotions of a single year, but probes beneath the surface of memory to explore certain tribal customs and rites of passage as they are played out in the classrooms and living quarters of the college. A few famous people-T. S. Eliot and Edith Sitwell among them-play brief parts in this chronicle, but young Prescott's attention was primarily engaged in his struggle with his extravagant roommates and an assortment of eccentric undergraduates.