An Uncommon Education
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 Welles...more
i feel like the author is probably a really really good person. she just isn't great at writing ...more
We start off with Naomi Feinstein as a child, who is the apple of her father's eye. He makes an extra effort with her, as her mother suffers from depression. Her mother spends most of her time alone, as she doesn't want her moods to affect her daughter. Of course, the removal of her mother from most situations affects Naomi.
Too often in life I will hear someone say “All my problems will be over once” something happens. The teenager thinks going to college will change them; the college kid thinks a real job with a paycheck will, the young employee thinks marriage, then children, then empty nester, retirement, and so on. The real truth about life is we never get rid of our problems, rather we just trade them in for new ones. The only constructive thing a person ...more
At ALA Annual last year, I saw people with copies of An Uncommon Education, and I was saddened that I missed out on meeting Elizabeth Percer. My disappointment has vanished now that I am able to help celebrate the paperback release of this wonderful book. An Uncommon Education tracks the life of Naomi, a girl who experiences loneliness and loss so profound that she carries the mark throughout her life. When Naomi’s best friend is suddenly ripped from her life, she ...more
But here's the problem. There's no there there for me. Completely unlikeable heroine. A Wellesley I don't recognize (unfriendly, mean students). I found it falling into stereotypes of the college (okay no one but an alum would see this) about lesbians everywhere especially in the arts groups, competitive to the hilt females, and daughters who cann ...more
1. The plot ranges from nonexistent to stupid. When I finished the book, my only reaction was "what exactly was the point of that?"
2. On almost every page I wanted to yell "no one would ever do that" and/or "no one would ever talk like that (ESPECIALLY a college student)." Suspension of disbelief = not achieved.
3. The writing is cringeworthy, like when an author thinks she's saying something REALLY insightful, so it's kind of sneaky, and you're like, oh, maybe th ...more
Furthermore, from child to young adult to adult she changed very little. She was so shy it seemed she didn't even talk to her friends yet she was in plays? Her growth as a character was so stagnic I felt the need to try ...more
It's a story about Naomi, and I think it's more than just a "coming of age" book as many have suggested. While we do watch Naomi grow up, I think the complexities allow us to see life on a bigger picture. It wasn't that I ever sympathized with Naomi, but it was more like I simply understood her.
An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer (Harper; 342 pages; $24.99).
Coming of age novels are so popular as of late. They are everywhere. Just within the last few months, I have read Jennifer Miller's The Year of the Gadfly, Morgan Callan Rogers's Ruby Red Heart in a Deep Blue Sea, Amber Dermont's The Starboard Sea, and others. The new novel An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer can now take its place beside these favorites. In some ways, Percer's book stands head and shoulder ...more
Naomi Feinst ...more
Most importantly, I did not understand Naomi's devotion to her mother. Her father ...more
An Uncommon Education is a coming-of-age story that follows Naomi from early childhood to her adult years. Over the years, Naomi learns things about her family that she wonder might have been better left alone, she finds love in different people and in different forms, and she comes to terms with who she is and what she wants to do with her life.
Naomi is a gifted child with a photographic memory. An ambitious ...more
I loved re ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, particularly for a debut. I think in any book aspirin ...more
1) The juxtaposition between the inward reality versus the outward portrayal of Wellesley (and most likely other institutions with prestigious reputations). About a week before starting at Wellesley, an upperclasswoman told me that the day-to-day reality of the school would be vastly different from the facade presented to the rest of the world. I found this to be true--not in a negative w ...more
"The first phase of his life was so marked by trauma he was able to detach it almost completely from his later realities; his pain a faulty limb that had been cleanly removed, only to be remembered as a phantom sens ...more
There are parts of this book that are very good and compelling. Unfortunately, they happen much later in the book. I was very uninterested in Naomi's story for about the first 120 pages - I couldn't connect her father's obsession with Rose Kennedy/the Rose Kennedy house, her father's heart attack, her friendship/first love with the neighbor boy, her mother's depression, etc. Naomi also has a photographic memory (?) just to give it that extra quirk.
Once the s ...more
I have to admit, a portion of my like for this book is based on the fact that it truthfully depicts the Wellesley I remember and brings back all the emotions I had while there. It's also possible that I felt the limited character development of Naomi translated well to women I knew at Wellesley. The story resonated for me, and i'll admit that my nostalgia may have convinced me of the greatness of this novel...
A novel that has a distinct sense of place, especially of the lush, wooded campus of Wellesley College, and a much looser grasp of character, from the oddly aimless Protagonist to the ciphers who populate her stories like movie extras. I wanted to love this book -- it's the type of book I often do love -- but very little of it jelled for me.