Review: True Prep by Lisa Birnbach with Chip Kidd as the sequel to the 80’s cult classic The Official Preppy Handbook, True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World is a new outlook on all things preppy. From the classic staples you will need for your wardrobe to when to wear your diamonds, this new book tries to address all things preppy in a time when prep has evolved but in many ways remained the same.  While holding true to many preppy institutions such as prep schools, seersucker, where to summer and “the family” model, True Prep also opens itself up to a whole new kind of prep in today’s high tech world.  Needless to say the prep of the 1980’s is not the prep of today.

The tongue-in-cheek humor within many pages will leave you laughing out loud in your pearls; which by the way are appropriate at all times unlike diamonds. However there is a flow that is missing to the work. It often seems scattered and not quite connected. The book is also heavy on labels and brands, which is preppy but breaks a cardinal prep rule. Just like with money, brand names are never flaunted or talked about so seeing them so displayed so continuously in the book seems to be a little awkward and one might say un-preppy. Even humor must be true to its subject after all.

However the book is broken down into a readable format that is almost magazine- like including multiple pictures and illustrations on almost every page, this makes it easy to browse and come back to at a later time. It’s a fun look at a lifestyle that many can relate to but some will be disappointed in what it includes or fails to include for that matter.

As the author suggests prep has changed over the years and is not as easily definable as it once was. This shows in the way the book tries to cover a little bit of everything but leaves us not quite feeling as if we’ve really gotten anything of substance.  Substance lacking one need also not worry about it being decidedly political or opinionated since it seems to follow the very letter of political correctness and inclusion.

Fans of the former classic may be disappointed but some new readers may find the book suits their tastes just fine. All in all opinion on this one may just lie with the true preppy readers and what they view as the definition of prep.  No matter what the final verdict one can always agree “it’s still nice to be prep.”



Filed under Adult Books, New Books, Non-Fiction

2 responses to “Review: True Prep by Lisa Birnbach with Chip Kidd

  1. I’m probably a little old for this book. I personally think diamonds and pearls are always acceptable.

  2. I don’t know the “80’s classic” you mentioned, maybe because I was 2 years old for the most of the 80’s? However, the pictures look kind of funny.

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