I picked up Michael Knight’s At Briarwood School for Girls on a whim the last time I went to the library. My library holds back a copy or two of the latest, greatest and most popular books and media on the request queue as a reward for those of us who still walk into the building. And there are rules to this magic shelf: 1. You can only check out three things from the shelf; 2. You have to return it within seven days; and 3. The late fees are much higher.
So I picked up At Briarwood School for Girls because the jacket flap intrigued me and I already had the other book that grabbed my eye on my Kindle.
The book is set in 1994 at an all-girls school in Virginia. The main character of the book is pregnant. Her roommate talks to the dead. And her best friend is causing a scene at every chance because Disney is planning to build a theme park based on the history of America a few miles down the road from their school. There’s a reclusive alumna that won a Pulitzer. And a male teacher with a dog named Pickett.
I know, I know. It doesn’t sound like it could work. And really, in some parts it doesn’t. I didn’t love this book, and I’ll probably forget that I read it by the year’s end. But one thing I won’t forget: that Disney tried to build a theme park in Virginia in the early 1990s. That part was 100 percent true.
Book Club Questions
- What do you imagine Lenore, Poppy and Melissa’s backgrounds to be like? Why are they friends?
- Do you think there was an explanation of what happened to Lenore in the phone booth? What else could it have been?
- If you were the headmistress for the school, would you have accepted the check from the Disney corporation for a new computer lab for the school? Why or why not?