Review: Confessions of a Rebel Debutante by Anna Fields
Author: Anna Fields
Release Date: April 15, 2010
Rating: 1.5 Bookmarks (Not my cup of cocoa)
Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis: Confessions of a Rebel Debutante recounts Anna Fields’s experiences as a Southern girl, debutante, West Coast and Yankee transplant.
Drawn in by the title and cover, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante promises one thing but delivers another. I was looking forward to an entertaining coming-of-age tale but was disappointed by a hodgepodge of mildly entertaining anecdotes from Fields’s early life in North Carolina in the 1990s and whiny post-college years in California and New York. She has trouble fitting in and trouble making friends wherever she goes.
Fields turns friends, acquaintances, and strangers into caricatures of themselves–meshing characteristics with stereotypes or generalizations to create larger-than-life characters to suit her needs. One roommate is transformed into the stereotypical Southern belle type in a single paragraph:
…there stood Brooke Walters. Perfect hair. Perfect nails. Her pale pink sweater set shedding angora fuzz all over my Lee jean overalls. Momma and Poppa Walters standing vigilantly behind her as she pushed into the room, stopping dead at the sight of my having claimed the bottom bunk. It was on…’I’m Bitsy,’ she said. ‘Could we visit a bit about the bunk situation?’
Fields’s life in New York is no different. She goes on about how greedy and rude Yankees are and how she didn’t fit in with any of her NYU classmates.
By the time first semester ended, I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t fit in with the rest of my classmates…a lot of New Yorkers actually believe everyone from the South is a white supremacist, a former slave-owner, an inbred hick…
The irony is, on the preceding page Fields discusses the students in her class and none are actually native New Yorkers. There’s a guy from Texas, one from Philadelphia, and another from San Francisco. Maybe it’s not New York or the other people, maybe it’s Fields herself with the problem. She makes widespread generalizations about those around her while complaining that they stereotype her.
While there were a few bright spots in the memoir–a genre I love–overall this one just didn’t work for me. Anna Fields might have had better luck writing a Roman a clef inspired by her time working with the celebrity set in Los Angeles (a la Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada) rather than a memoir recounting her non-deb days and beyond.