“True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World” By Lisa Birnbach With Chip Kidd

Three decades after “The Official Preppy Handbook” was first unleashed into bookstores, a follow-up called “True Prep” ($19.95) is scheduled to be released on September 7th, 2010. Hoping to reignite preppy fervor, update the mindset and explain just what it means to be a Chip or a Muffy in a Barack world.

The original volume, a slim, plaid-covered paperback that poked fun at the gin-soaked polo-shirt and loafer-wearing set, started out as a piquant bit of mockery but, like “Liar’s Poker,” a best seller about bond traders, and “Wall Street,” the movie in which Michael Douglas declared greed to be good, it ended up being adopted as a kind of guidebook for those who wanted in.

The book eventually sold 1.3 million copies, many to aspiring prepsters who wanted to know where to shop, what to wear and how to fully appreciate what it called “the virtues of pink and green.”

Among those buyers was Chip Kidd, one of the industry’s best-known book designers, who loved the original as a teenager growing up near Reading, Pa., where he attended public high school and adored topsiders. The handbook, he said, “changed my life.”

Now he has teamed with the editor and one of the writers of the original volume, Lisa Birnbach, for the follow-up. “As a fan, that is why I kind of instigated this whole thing,” he said of the new volume. “I wanted the next book.”

The 256 hardcover looks at how the old guard of natural-fiber-loving, dog-worshipping, G&T-soaked preppies adapts to the new order of the Internet, cell phones, rehab, political correctness, reality TV and . . . polar fleece.

A small sample:

– Wardrobe: Recent prep brands we are forced to recognize. How to tell Casual Friday from, say, Saturday.

– Money: We never talk about it.

– Food: Does the Food Network mean we’re going to have to cook? Bake? Now you’re going too far.

– Scandals: Poor Mrs. Astor. When Mummy’s plastic surgery goes terribly wrong. Rehab and the slammer: the new prep schools.

– We’re outta here: When to name something after yourself, and when not. The right obituary. What to do with your dogs if you predecease them.


True Prep promises to be a whole new old sensation.

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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