I always wanted to go to a boarding school. It sounded all cool and fancy to a younger, desperate for adventure me. I had daydreams of secret passage ways, daring night trips through the forest, and late night adventures to the library. Okay, so I never imagined sneaking off to be with a boy, but I was a geeky child, what else would you expect? I never did go to boarding school, but this next book I am reviewing makes me wish I did, at least for a little while.
In Cristina Garcia’s Dreams of Significant Girls is a wonderful look at three girls from extremely different walks of life, place together in a Swiss boarding camp out of their comfort zone, and having to learn how to survive together. Over the course of three summers, the girls grow and learn more about themselves and each other than one could possibly believe. Then again, in the free-wheeling seventies, learning about oneself was a pretty easy thing to do. The opportunities to break rules and run free are endless, and the girls take advantage of every single one. The girls individually surmount hardships that are relevant even now, timeless problems that women the world over experience on a daily basis. The often shocking material is handled in such a delicate and beautiful manner that makes it palatable, even when it may be unbelievable. Overall, the intertwining of these three very different girls makes for a beautiful window into the messed up world of the seventies, trying desperately to find a place in a world that is not sure it wants anyone to belong.