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FRIDAY

Now, I’ve never been a girl (which, despite the masculine first name, Curtis Sittenfeld is) or attended boarding school, but the Ault School of the author’s debut novel, Prep—and the experiences of its protagonist, a Midwesterner of modest means named Lee Fiora—rings true to this graduate of an all-boys day school. “At soccer practice, I worried I would miss the ball.” Check. “When we boarded the bus for games at other schools, I worried that I would take a seat by someone who didn’t want to sit next to me.” Yup. “In class I worried I would say a wrong or foolish thing.” Sure. Lee also notes that she was “embarrassed” by her parents’ “rusty white Datsun” when they dropped her off at the start of the semester. I, too, remember well the status-conscious world of ’80s private schools, in which I feared more than once what the children of Mercedes- and Jaguar-owning families would think of our well-worn, baby-blue Datsun 210. But my experience, like Lee’s, wasn’t constantly gut-wrenching: “Ault prided itself on, among other things, its student-teacher ratio, and there were only 12 of us in the class.” Been there, in a class of only six. Also, if one had to live in constant fear of disappointing, at least “[t]he campus really was beautiful.” Sittenfeld, 29, based her novel on her own experience at Connecticut’s Groton School, and she’s taught in the District for the past few years at St. Albans. Ask Sittenfeld if things ever change when she reads Friday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Louis Jacobson)