My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Expected publication August 21st!
Before I get into the full review, let me quickly describe rush in a few words: charming, lovely, and reminiscent.
Rush is a story told from multiple perspectives, but simply put, the novel revolves around the sorority rush (i.e. recruitment) process at Ole Miss. The perspectives showcased are those of the housekeeper at the Alpha Delta Beta house, the Alpha Delta Beta legacy and mother of a potential new member (i.e. rushee), and a college freshman entering the rush process.
The way Lisa Patton told this story was fantastic. Her ability to integrate big social topics into the story such as race, health benefits, the 1% v. the 99%, etc. while still keeping the story very light and fresh was incredible. It would be very easy for some of the heavier social issues to have taken the book in a dark direction, but her use of positivity and messages of hope kept it from being steered down the wrong path. I must admit that when I was in my sorority, I never took the time to consider the lives of the folks that helped our house run: our house mother, our cooks, our housekeeper, and so many others. This book really opened my eyes.
On a more personal note, when I read this book I felt like I was transported back to 2006 when I rushed my sorority. The descriptions of the rush process, the feeling of sisterhood, and the world Lisa Patton created within the house were spot-on. I’m confident that any other person reading this review who has been through the Panhellenic rush process would feel the same. I remember the fun times attending football games, Greek Week, parties, formals, sitting in the living room of our 100+ year-old house watching Grey’s Anatomy on the only TV that had cable, seeing boys slide out of gals’ rooms late at night trying not to get caught by our house mother, having the fraternity rushees run naked through our house when they lost a game of beer pong, chapter meetings, “family” dinners, and so many more amazing memories that made my time at Michigan special.
While I did see incredible similarities between this book and my own experience in Greek life, there were also many elements that made the book uniquely Southern. Taking place on the Ole Miss campus, Lisa Patton gave it a southern flare. The dialogue was done in a way that made the reader feel like they were talking to an African American woman from the deep south or an old time Southern belle. There were also southern touches such as girls getting dressed in their Sunday best for football games (up in the North we typically wore T-shifts or hoodies as opposed to dresses).
I loved the atmosphere that was created and the story was done well. I only gave it 4 stars because it didn’t “blow me away” but it was very good! I also think it’s very smart of Lisa Patton and St. Martin’s Press to release the book in August when the new batch of freshman girls and guys will be starting their journey into Greek life. This is the perfect book to curl up with in the late summer/early fall when college campuses all across the country are coming back to life.
-I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an advanced copy and thank you to Lisa Patton for her wholehearted interpretation of the Greek system.-