Prasad, Chandra. On Borrowed Wings. I'm finally getting around to catching up on a few reviews. Danielle had recommended this one highly, so when the author offered to send it to me, I gladly accepted. And there was a lovely carved bookmark, tucked in!
Hard for us to imagine in this day and age, but college educations for women were difficult to come by until the 20th century, and even then, many schools were exclusively male. Adele Pietra, who never expected the opportunity to attend college, has the chance to change her life after the death of her brother. Charles Pietra had been accepted to Yale, which in the 1930's was still an all male institution, but shortly after receiving his acceptance, he died in a tragic accident. Adele and her mother decide the opportunity is too valuable to waste.
Adele crops her hair and shows up in Cambridge as Charlie Pietra. Fortunately, she doesn't have a roommate! (There are some difficulties with her relatively easy masquerade.) The friends she makes and her ambivalence in her role provide some of the highlights. A difficult situation at best--trying to conceal one's true identity and gender, form friendships, evade dangerous issues and situations, and deal with a growing romantic interest in one of friends. Also of interest is "Charlie's" role with the DiRisio's, another situation that creates internal conflict, but becomes Charlie/Adele first real source of family warmth and worth.
The book provides an interesting look at the Yale campus of the 1930's and some of the cultural norms and social topics of the time. Some of the topics are to be extrapolated from the time period and Charlie's work study program, some are gender issues, but through Adele's experiences, we get a view of an earlier time with issues unique to the period and issues that remain part of all human and societal experience.
Fiction. Historical? 2007. 310 pages.