Just read Alexandra Robbins' Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities -- after reading Koren Zailckas's Smashed, my curiousity about college-aged girls was piqued, and this book looked juicy as hell. According to the intro, plumbers had to be called to sorority houses on a regular basis to unclog pipes full of bulemic puke, girls set each other up for date rape, and binge drinking binge drinking binge drinking. To quote a girl gone wild, "Whoo!"
And it is pretty juicy, and thoroughly researched, too -- the author spent some time trying to cover the Greek college organizations as a journalist, but was rejected, so she went "undercover" in two different sororities at an institution she calls "State U." She follows four girls in the sororities over the course of one year, and sprinkles amidst their stories a number of fact-heavy sociological essays, highlighting aspects of the girls' experiences with racism, drug abuse, eating disorders, "mean girl" syndrome, etc. By the end, I felt like I had a really good grasp of what sororities were about, and why girls chose to join them. And the girls' stories were pretty involving (if somewhat tame, compared to some of the stuff I've seen at the shelter-ority).
Anyway, the young women are interesting. They have all this energy and power, and half of it is wasted on self-abuse (and not the fun kind, either), and another half of it is wasted in fruitless co-dependent relationships. But they manage to be likable anyway. In the new intro to the paperback edition, Robbins says that a lot of girls went nuts on her after the book was published because they felt she betrayed and misrepresented them. But I thought the book was pretty loving and caring -- Robbins obviously wants the best for her protagonists, and is frustrated by a system that denies them that.
I'd love to see a guy's counterpart for this book, where someone went undercover at a frat. Frat boys = very, very scary. He could call it Smegma Smegma Poo.
Thanks folks! Remember to tip your servers. I'll be here...until I'm not here any more.