Published June 3, 2014
261 pages (hardcover)
During my second year of college, I took an anthropology class. For our final project, we had to develop a comparative study of two similar but distinct groups of people (the assignment must have had additional parameters, but I certainly can’t recall them this many years later). My groundbreaking study looked at the similarities and differences of two distinct subcultures of college students: 1) the hippie-dippy students at Lewis & Clark, my teeny, tiny liberal arts college (a school with no Greek system that abolished its football program the year after I graduated) located in Portland, Oregon, the land of rain and quirk, and 2) the football-crazed Bulldogs at my stepsister’s huge state school in the dirty South, UGA.
The incredibly deep and thought-provoking questions I posed included gems like, “What do you do on an average Friday night?” A Lewis & Clark student’s typical response: smoke a bowl and go out to a bar. A UGA response: go to a frat party and get drunk. When asked how they would describe their school, a Lewis & Clark response went something like, “It’s a really chill, open environment. Everyone knows everyone else. We call our professors by their first names and go over to their houses for dinner. The study abroad opportunities are amazing. And I love that we can go skiing or rafting with Campus Outdoors every weekend.” My favorite UGA response was simply this: “Go DAWGS! Get ‘em! Sick ‘em! Woof woof woof woof woof WOOF WOOOOOOOOOOF!!!!”
Needless to say, my brand of anthropology was not particularly enlightening or revolutionary. And I think it’s fair to say that I was definitely not on track to be the next Margaret Mead. In contrast, the three main characters in Lily King’s new novel, Euphoria, take their anthropology a little more seriously.