BABES IN BOYLAND: A Personal History of Co-Education in the Ivy League

Gina Barreca, Author . Univ. Press of New England $19.95 (172p) ISBN 978-1-58465-299-1

Recalling her Dartmouth days with "a combination of pride, astonishment and affection"—and acknowledging that "astonishment dominates"—Brooklyn-raised Barecca serves up a witty, episodic, chatty and decidedly personal account of being one of the first women on the campus in the 1970s, when a few "ubercoeds" trotted about in sweater sets while "Better Dead Than Coed" banners festooned Fraternity Row. Of course, Barecca felt like "a duck in a swan suit" when she tried to wear Talbots—so she settled for being the dark-haired girl from Oceanside who wore thrift-store hats in classes full of students whose "blond heads [glow] with their own reflected light like enormous fireflies." That particular quote comes from her 1975 diary; she also includes snippets from textbooks and other memoirs, a facsimile of one of her underwhelming grade reports and photos of herself in various silly but flattering poses and guises. Barecca (They Used to Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted ) is an unfailingly winning narrator (even when she weirdly refers to herself in the third person) and if her book is more memoir than history, it's a delightful tour of one woman's college experience, seasoned with a consciousness of issues of gender and class. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/28/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Paperback - 154 pages - 978-1-61168-203-8
Open Ebook - 168 pages - 978-1-61168-202-1
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