EPSILON ZETA by Jock Young


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A semester in the life of a fraternity.

The Gamma Nu chapter of Epsilon Zeta, on the campus of Northwest Florida University, is straight out of Animal House. The brothers drink with abandon, throw outrageous parties, haze their new recruits and degrade women. In one particularly redolent scene, three members clad only in tube socks walk in on a brother mid-sexual tryst. After interrupting the action, they "convince" the drunk girl to sleep with all of them in rotation. (All except for the fat, acne-covered brother, of course.) Behind the facade of total debauchery, however, many of the members carry deeper concerns. Martin, the president, is a scholarship student with a father in the nearby jail. Zack, another fraternity leader, is tirelessly devoted to his younger sister, who was born blind. In addition to their personal lives, the brothers must negotiate fraternity politics, particularly the national leadership. Though Dave Holmgren, the regional liaison to the Gamma Nu chapter, is young and forgiving, Martin still has plenty of problems on his hands. He has to expel one member when a large sum of money goes missing, and kick several others out of the house for drug use. The carousing is supposed to be commonly accepted campus behavior, but the brothers of Epsilon Zeta are walking a fine line. When their chapter is kicked off campus, many are left to wonder if it really meant as much to them as they thought. Though the cover copy claims that "Light shines on darker side of college fraternities," nobody who has recently set foot on a college campus will be shocked by Young's portrayal of the seedy underbelly of the Greek scene. But he does have a way with details, as unappetizing as they may be to anyone over the age of 25, and his surprisingly well-sketched characters remain interesting throughout the well-worn story.

Hardly groundbreaking, but entertaining.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 2006
ISBN: 1-891799-53-3
Program: Kirkus Indie
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