Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson 2005

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Pledged - The Secret Life of Sororities
by Alexandra Robbins
ISBN 1-4013-0046-4
Published April 2004 - Hardcover - 372 pages - $23.95

Going to university should be a happy although a somewhat daunting occasion.  I have to wonder why so many supposedly "intelligent" young women (and men) have to feel they should be so humiliated before they can move on with their studies.  Does being in a sorority (social group) make you a better person than anyone else on campus?  I think not.  More a sheep than anything else - and we all know how clever sheep are!  Alexandra Robbins went undercover to investigate the world of sororities and what her book tells us, will alarm you, especially if you've never belonged to one, which most of us have not, thankfully.  Belonging to a sorority supposedly "develops a stronger and more womanly character, broadens the moral and intellectual life," is what Ms. Robbins reports.  Generally one thinks of the good deeds, the philanthropy encouraged, the boost to a girl's character, and other good things to come out of a sorority (and they do), but upon further investigation (names and places have been changed for obvious reasons), Robbins lets us in.  She's privvy to the instant messages, conversations, dating, bar-hopping, and so much more.  I found it quite alarming to learn how desperate (weak and immature?) some young women are - having to run with the pack (all having eating disorders, all looking alike, group piercings, etc.) just to "fit in" is totally absurd, and, in my mind, barbaric.  How does one learn to be an individual?  Are these "leaders" so lacking in self-confidence that they have to be seen as "strong" by bullying others into doing things?  Hard to believe society still permits this ridiculousness.  How much studying goes on I have to wonder, when all this cavorting about and charged behaviour is going on?  I'm so glad Alexandra Robbins wrote this book - I had no idea what went on - the sex alone borders on being criminal.
Conclusion - A must for girls going to university and all parents of daughters considering joining a sorority - knowledge is power so arm yourself with what goes on at some of these places before you subject yourself (or your child) to some of the horrors that go on - this is a real eye-opener.


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