Saturday, September 15, 2012

How many memoirs about Harvard are there?

So far, just two that I know of: "Penelope" by Rebecca Harrington and "That Book about Harvard" by Eric Kester. One of these books is more creatively titled than the other, though that doesn't say much considering "Penelope" is a book about a Harvard freshman named Penelope. Technically, "Penelope" isn't a memoir, but it is probably similar enough to Harrington's own freshman experiences that I'm going to consider it a memoir for the purposes of this post.

Interestingly, both authors graduated Harvard in 2008, both were involved in the Crimson, and both currently work for the Huffington Post. I'm sensing a conspiracy here.

Another fun fact about being a part of a publication at Harvard: Conan O'Brien '85 was president of the Lampoon and Jeff Zucker '86 was president of the Crimson (probably during the same years as each other). Fast forward about 25 years later: Jeff Zucker is CEO of NBC and Conan O'Brien is hosting a late night show on that same network.

Now, back to the books. I'm actually pretty interested to read these, seeing as my own freshman year was a roller coaster of emotions. My amazing academic and personal experiences were unfortunately counterbalanced by tons of social anxiety as I struggled to find my niche. I was just talking to my freshman year roommate about this last night, actually. We both came back from the summer with totally different perspectives on the upcoming year, but I'm losing my perspective a lot quicker than she is. It's only been two weeks, and I can already feel myself regressing to my freshman year mindset. Maybe these books will help me keep things in perspective.

Edit: And now a third. "A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano" by Ruben Navarrette Jr.

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