An Uncommon Education

An Uncommon Education

 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
782   0
Write Review
An Uncommon Education
Age Range
18+
Release Date
May 01, 2012
ISBN
0062110977
Buy This Book
      
A young woman tries to save three people she loves in this elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut.

Afraid of losing her parents at a young age--her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed mother--Naomi Feinstein prepared single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. An outcast at school, Naomi loses herself in books, and daydreams of Wellesley College. But when Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it's the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Naomi soon learns that college isn't the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness--until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi's introduction to Wellesley's oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students. Naomi finally begins to detach from the past and so much of what defines her, immersing herself in this exciting and liberating new world and learning the value of friendship. But her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings irrevocable consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of growing up is learning that sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

An Uncommon Education is a compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations. Poignant and wise, it artfully captures the complicated ties of family, the bittersweet inevitability of loss, and the importance of learning to let go.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0  (1)
Characters 
 
2.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Good for Fans of Special Topics in Calamity Physics

What I Loved:
For once, I actually think the books they make comparisons to in the blurb are right on the money. Of the three, An Uncommon Education had the least in common with prep, and quite a lot in common with Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Also, I like An Uncommon Education best of all of these things. This book moves at a slow, sort of drifting pace, but the slow parts were worth it to enjoy the skilled prose and clever observations about life.

Readers who like books with a fast pace are not likely to be well-pleased with Percer's debut, but I do not mind a slow pace, so long as a story has other things to recommend it, especially if I can take my time with it, rather than trying to rush through for a deadline. Percer's writing is intricate and well-worth savoring slowly.

What Left Me Wanting More:
What kept me from really connecting with this book is its lack of direction combined with its pretentiousness. Taking the former, the novel does not have a cohesive plot. There's nothing really propelling the reader forward. It's just a woman looking back at her life, though primarily just her childhood and college years, in the period after her mother's death.

Naomi learns about the tenuousness of life and the dangerousness of love during her childhood. Her father has a heart attack and nearly dies in front of her right at the beginning of her story. Later on, just as she's starting on puberty and falling in love for the first time with her neighbor Teddy, his father dies, and Teddy's mom moves them away. From this point on, she avoids real close connections, a habit she cannot truly shake at college. Naomi also keeps an emotional wall up between herself and the reader, which prevented me from forming an attachment. There does come a change suddenly towards the end, and I would actually like to have seen more development of her character, so that I could wholly buy into her changed mindset.

I suppose I knew the book would be one of those intended to highlight the mighty intellect of the author, but not to this degree. As with Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the main character becomes involved in a time-eating, addictive society, one which leads to a degradation in her classwork and some out-of-character decisions. The club, while not secret, has some seriously unsavory practices, like the parties after their performances of Shakespeare plays where the girls hook up with others, some of whom are masked to preserve their identities.

While there's nothing wrong with a drifting plot or showing off, I just feel like some of the pieces of the novel were not entirely necessary. Some scenes seem to exist solely for exposition that reveals the vast swaths of knowledge of the author. Others seem to serve merely to add drama to the otherwise staid narration, like the revelation as to what exactly happened at one of those masked parties.

The Final Verdict:
That all comes across rather on the negative side, but I did enjoy the book and I would read something else by Elizabeth Percer, because I do like her writing. If you like Special Topics in Calamity Physics or books that make you feel cleverer for having read them, I suspect An Uncommon Education will be right up your alley.

Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Eight Days on Planet Earth
How long does it take to travel twenty light years...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation
Even monster-battling princesses get tired sometimes! But a peaceful time...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Refugee.jpg
JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
SwingitSunnyjpg
Summer's over and it's time for Sunny Lewin to enter...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
TheWitchBoy.jpg
In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Let's Investigate with Nate #1: The Water Cycle
Bill Nye the Science Guy meets The Magic School Bus!...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The 12 Dares of Christa
Christa is a holiday junkie. What’s not to love? There’s...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes
Things are looking up for Abbie Wu: this year she’ll...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Blight
Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
See Fred Run
Learning to read has never been more fun than it...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Solo
From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Kwame...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker #1)
"Most superhero stories start with a meteor shower or...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
How to Disappear
Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ferocious (Vicarious #2)
Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Monster of Selkirk Book I: The Duality of Nature
Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation
 
4.5
"The Princess in Black protects the people and the goats from monsters that come up from their underground home. She..."
See Fred Run
 
3.5
"'See Fred Run' by Kevin Bolger, and illustrated by Ben Hodson, is a story about main character Fred and his..."
Where's Waldo? 30th Anniversary Edition
 
5.0
"Where's Waldo is an iconic search and find activity book that has been entertaining people for 30 years. This 30th..."
The Little Girl Who Didn't Want to Go to Bed
 
4.5
"THE LITTLE GIRL WHO DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO BED is about a girl who will do anything to stay..."
Mr. Biddles
 
5.0
"MR. BIDDLES stars a cat named Mr. Biddles who is an inventor. He creates all types of new gadgets and..."
Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True
 
4.5
"In UNI THE UNICORN AND THE DREAM COME TRUE, magic is weakening amongst the unicorns because of the never-ending rain...."
Pashmina
 
3.5
"Priyanka Das’s mother does not like Priyanka asking questions about India and her life there, but that doesn’t stop Pri..."
Penguins Love Their ABC's
 
4.0
"In PENGUINS LOVE THEIR ABC'S, Mama Penguin hides ABC's in the snow for her six children to seek out. They..."
Even Fairies Fart
 
5.0
"EVEN FAIRIES FART teaches that nobody's perfect. As children, we listen to fairy tales and dream of having perfect lives..."
Little Penguin and the Lollipop
 
4.5
"LITTLE PENGUIN AND THE LOLLIPOP is interactive and encourages the reader to help Little Penguin by being silly. It makes..."
Flowers for Sarajevo
 
5.0
"Haunting and hopeful. The bombing one of the last working bakeries in the city of Sarajevo might have been..."
Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales
 
4.5
"If you know me you know that I absolutely love retellings, so when I requested this book I was expecting..."
Plankton Is Pushy
 
4.0
"A quick and comical read, rife with sarcasm. A particular plankton is used to eliciting a response from every..."
Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure
 
4.0
"DRAGONWATCH is a captivating, action-packed story that is filled with all type of creatures such as trolls, goblins, dragons, nipsies,..."
Once Upon a Cruise
 
4.0
"What I Loved: After Ainsley’s mom took a cruise director job aboard what is essentially a mockbuster Disney cruise, Ainsley..."
Five Elements #2: The Shadow City
 
4.0
"THE SHADOW CITY starts off where I expected it to. The elementals are trying to decide on their next move...."
Will Wilder #2: The Lost Staff of Wonders
 
4.0
"In THE LOST STAFF OF WONDERS, the legendary staff of Moses is stolen by a powerful demon named Amon who..."
Cavern of Secrets (Wing and Claw #2)
 
4.0
"Raffa, Kuma, and Garith have escaped Gilden with their animal companions in CAVERN OF SECRETS. Raffa has Echo the Bat..."
Black Moon Rising (The Library Book 2)
 
5.0
"Marcus, along with his friends Lu and Theo, are struggling to make it through middle school. Lu gets a bad..."
Pig the Winner
 
4.5
"This book is a winner (no pun intended). This hilarious story paired with the most perfect illustrations will definitely leave..."