Book Review: Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities – Alexandra Robbins

pledgedPledged is yet another book I found sitting on top of my dumpster. Unlike the others I’ve found, this one actually belonged there.

Alexandra Robbins wanted to write a book about sororities, but was unable to get any access to interview and study them. She was ‘left with no choice’ and, despite the fact that it conflicted with her journalist ethics, she went undercover at an undisclosed school to find out what sororities were really about.

I had so many problems with this book . . . first of all, she did a terrible job giving examples, basically every time she gave examples. In one portion of the book, she was attempting to show that there was a real lack of privacy in sororities. The example she used was that of a girl walking out of a room, hitting her elbow on the door, saying, “Ouch!” and then another sister saying, “Honey, are you OK?” That was her big example of how no one could do anything without everyone knowing about it.

I’m not fan of the Greek system, but I found some of her conclusions pretty dramatic. She went on and on about all the drinking that goes on in sororities — but we’re talking about college! That goes on regardless of whether you’re affiliated with a Greek organization or not.

Most of the book was incredibly redundant. The 384 pages could easily have been whittled down to 200, or even 150, and had the same impact.

The only interesting part of the book was when she went into the segregation of the Greek system and talked about the self-identified “historically white” sororities. I had to ignore her writing though and just focus on the facts, because she was basically tripping over herself to show how very, very liberal and post-racial she was. For example, she attended a ‘stepping’ performance and went on and on about how she was the only white person in a crowd of 10,000 and how stepping was like ‘the black version of Stomp’. She also described in the people in the crowd as ‘bopping their heads and swaying to the music.’ Bopping, eh?

Overall, I did not like this book and would un-read it, if that were possible.

Currently reading: Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

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