My Education
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My Education

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,212 ratings  ·  255 reviews
A first-year graduate student, Regina, is a teaching assistant for the charismatic, attractive professor Nicholas Brodeur and gets to know his charismatic, attractive wife, Martha. Everyone sleeps with almost everyone here, and they mostly pay little heed to the effects of their actions on anyone else.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 3rd 2013 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2013)
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Novels about naïve college-aged students who fall into the throes of older, charismatic professors are nothing new; neither are novels about love that veers into obsession. Susan Choi’s latest novel incorporates both these themes, but in a distinctive way, spiced with strong insights into the very nature of love, marriage and forgiveness.

Rather early on in the book, Ms. Choi throws a curve ball at the reader, turning our preconceived notions about what the book will be about on its ear. Everythi...more
Stephanie Sun
Choi must have forgotten to sacrifice a goat to the literary gods this year: snubbed by the NBAs, the NY Times Notable list... I thought her book was the best new release I've read since Atonement.


"A firm push, on smooth waters. After I'd traveled the distance, I saw what he'd done."

This unexpectedly deeply-felt and wise novel seems to be suffering from the publishing industry's bizarre practice of letting (many of) its books be merchandised and marketed by people who haven't read them.

My Educa...more
My Education is a brilliantly written, incomprehensibly boring novel. I use “incomprehensible” not merely as a substitute for “stultifyingly” or “incredibly,” but to convey the mystery of why and how it is so boring. The jacket notes that Choi “teaches at Princeton”), but I’m sure that has absolutely nothing to do with twenty-one year old English grad student Regina’s reverence/awe/unbridled lust for professors, male or female. And hey, everybody lusts after Regina because…let me get back to you...more
Oliver Schnusenberg
For me, reading this book was absolute torture. I had high hopes, since it was marked fairly highly on EW's list. For me, it was a complete letdown. Here are my major criticisms of the book (for what they are worth):

1) The writing and prose seemed utterly pretentious. Don't just use high-level words because you can, use them because they make sense in a particular setting. The prose is just rambling at times, with paragraphs that stretch over two pages, with seemingly no point.
2) Related to 1),...more
Jessica Harlan
Normally I love the (albeit over-explored) premise of student/teacher affair... it's probably why I picked up this book in the first place. But only a few chapters into the book I was praying it would get better (It didn't, really), and I had to force myself to finish it. Choi's writing is overwrought, in love with the sound of itself, exaggerated and pretentious (I got so sick of references to various obscure writers and philosophers, and Brodeurs' stupid baby carseat, which was always referred...more
Excessive! I've read her prior books and she's a good author ... but this book is excessive from the word go in both good and bad ways. The prose is rich, complex, and interesting ... but excessively so. The emotional intensity is, surprisingly, sustained during the whole 1992 part of the story, but it is clearly excessive. The sexual scenes are totally excessive. The plot is excessive but hard to put down.

On the other hand, the 2007 part of the book is a total failure IMHO. There is no transiti...more
I think Susan Choi is an excellent writer and I have liked one or two of her other novels, so I was very disappointed in My Education. None of the characters are likable or sympathetic; and the plot, actions, and dialogue seem contrived and unrealistic. Is this book supposed to be 50 Shades of Gray for academics? It was just a little bit too self-involved in the cloistered world of academic self-importance to elicit my general interest.

As a graduate student, Regina wanders around in a cold, drun...more
Peter Rock
This is a great and terrifying novel. I believe it comes out in July, but I got an early copy because Susan’s an old friend of mine. In fact, we had a two-person independent study about our writing when we were college students. And then we hung out all the time when she was a graduate student at Cornell and this novel is loosely based on those years, so it was eerie. More eerie, though, was how amazing Susan’s prose is. No one writes better sentences and keeps them moving, looping, twisting. Wh...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Regina Gottlieb narrates her adult education in a frank, unsentimental style, starting from her first days in graduate school in the early 1990's and ending in middle age--I won't divulge the year, as Choi doesn't either, until she gets there. There are only the two time periods that are magnified; the fill-in years are revealed in retrospect and reference, so that the reader also learns about Regina at a gradual pace. Regina's education here is less academic and more of a sexual and emotional o...more
Mike Cuthbert
Susan Choi’s new novel is a chronologically unbalanced by philosophically perfect novel of romance and obsession. Regina goes to college to meet one professor, the shaggy, boyishly handsome and up and coming scholar, Nicholas Brodeur. Brodeur is rumored to be a great romancer of women. Regina finds that to be true but Martha Brodeur is another case. Coming without reputation, the casually unkempt Martha is a beauty and it is soon Martha that Regina is in love with. This develops slowly over the...more
Regina Gottlieb is a 21 year old college graduate who knows EVERYTHING! She is just starting her graduate degree program, and has been listening to the gossip about a professor, Nicholas Brodeur. Brodeur has a reputation for being sexist, which somehow makes him so irresistibly sexy that Regina signs up for his class even though she is totally unprepared for it. Regina manages to catch Brodeur's attention, lands a job as his TA, and that's when things get a little out of hand. I know what you're...more
Originally posted on Shelf Addiction! Check this and more of my reviews at Shelf Addiction

First and foremost, because I review both Adult and YA, I wanted make very clear this is an 18+ book. Seriously. No minors aloud. If you're under 18, just stop right now...don't even read this review.

This story is full of seriously screwed up people. This themes include obsession, lust, love and loss. I'm going to try my best to keep this cohesive without giving away too much of the story. This book is a cl...more
Ostensibly a tale of the powerful infatuation of a young woman for her college professor and the passion, obsession and ultimately decades long fallout which ensues. There is a major unexpected twist early on in the book, annoyingly, as being written in the first person you expect to understand and predict the protagonist's mind and subsequent dramatic actions.

Coming from left-field as it did, I hadn't built up any empathy or affection for the relationship and was disconnected from this stage o...more
Regina Gottlieb is no stranger to the rumors about one of her professors, Nicholas Brodeur. Rumors that talk about Nicholas giving himself a hand job to the reading of couplets by his female students or that Nicholas laughed so hard he fell off his chair in the movie theater watching a film about rapist, Roman Polanski.

None of these rumors deter Regina from Nicholas. Not even his pregnant wife. If anything it just makes Regina more interested in him. Things get crazy when Regina gets close to N...more
My Education by Susan Choi was such an intense and passionate read that I was hesitant to put the book down in order to feed myself and get some sleep.

Regina, our narrator, starts her first year of graduate school feeling very adult. After all, she’s no longer an undergrad. An English major, Regina is forewarned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur’s predilection for young coeds, but is drawn to his charisma the first time she sees him. So much that she signs up for an advanced English class that is...more
It's true the writing here often sings, though in a simile heavy style like this, there are inevitably some clunkers that come off more as parodies than functional similes, and way too many places where the reader thinks, "Does this tiny bit of behavior really need a simile for us to understand it?" But Choi can write and I've liked both of her earlier books. But this one, and how do I put it way, I guess, it's just achingly dull. It's minutely observed all right to the point of stup...more
It was right after the first kiss between Regina Gottlieb (first-year grad student) and Martha Hallett (known as handsome Professor Nicholas Brodeur's wife and new mother even though she is a professor herself) on page 56 that I decided I am going to abandon this novel. A relief because I was only vaguely aware of how uncomfortable and slightly irritated I felt while reading the language. Susan Choi narrates it like a lecture almost, it's academic, and the effect detaches and distances me. I'm n...more
So far, this novel is spectacularly bad. Overwritten, barely sensical in its flow, frivolous. Perhaps it's the Ithaca setting that keeps me reading? I'm not sure.
I'm definitely the target audience for this kind of book right now; no doubt the best novel I've read this year.
I would never have read this book but for the insistent recommendation of Bill at Longfellow's Books in Portland, Maine. It is chockfull of things that typically leave me cold -- lots of adverbs and adjectives, long sentences, very long paragraphs, and explicit descriptions of sexual activity. And the description of the book on the jacket definitely put it on my do not read list, as the last thing I am interested in reading about is the lust of an immature college/post-grad student.

So you may as...more
At first I felt tricked by this book because the description on the dust jacket was misleading. However, once I got into it, I couldn't put it down, and that is a kind of miracle, because the book starts out as the protagonist, Regina Gottlieb, starts graduate school in a university English department in 1992 (the very same year I started graduate school studies in English, and a time in my life I would prefer not to relive, especially not in the fiction I read to escape). Choi has managed to wr...more
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
This is the fourth novel by Choi I have read. She often picks what to me seem like prickly, uncomfortable topics -- terrorism, a Patty Hearst-like kidnapping, etc. This time out, even more so. This is one of those books you want to throw across the room, yet somehow you keep reading it. Very much a novel of sexual obsession, it reminded me of a time when I sat in a large conference room with a group of my fellow librarians debating the merit of A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. It was a very s...more
Since I read this during a beach vacation, I am a bit more forgiving than I would be at another time.

The story of a laissez faire grad student (a post modernist, who hasn't read anything written before 1990, it seems), who seems to have enough funding to not work too hard (even after she quits grad school) falls in love with her professor's wife. What follows are several erotically charged, detailed chapters of their love making, along with the 21 year olds perceptions about their relationship....more
Andy Miller
This novel recounts an affair between a 21 year old graduate student and a college professor from the perspective of Regina, the 21 year old. The twist is that the affair is not with the charismatic and attractive Nicholas, the professor Regina is initially drawn to, but instead with his wife Martha, also a professor. The retelling of the affair details the initial infatuation(with a lot of explicit sex) the illicit hiding of the affair from Nicholas and handing care of the newborn Joachin to hi...more

Susan Choi's new novel will be known as that steamy book about an affair between two women. Steamy it is, but that is only a part of its allure. The sex writing is extremely good but that is because Susan Choi can write as well as, if not better than, anyone writing novels today.

This book is a campus novel, a love story, a domestic tale, and features male characters who are as deeply complex as the two main female characters. I am trying to sound like a calm and composed reviewer but the truth i...more
WTF did I just read??? The ending sucked!!!I feel like somewhere there are several chapters missing, maybe then I would get it. I would have never paid for this, it was from the library, thus not on my kindle. The author used so many BIG words that even with easy dictionary access it still was a bit much. The only real dates listed are 1993 and then 2007. The time progression in the book was so spotty. When I read, it is for enjoyment, not to think or have to figure the characters path out. I th...more
2.5 stars

Within reading a few paragraphs of My Education I realized 2 things: 1) This is definitely different from my usual fare and 2) This book takes me back to my teen years of watching Dawson’s Creek. These two items are actually connected in that the writing was infused with rich vocabulary set within a certain rhythm as if you were reading lyrics to a song. This in turn reminded me of the dialogue from said show, where these teenagers were using vocabulary that one normally wouldn’t hear c...more
The story:

It is 1992 and Regina Gottlieb, 20 years old, is starting her graduate degree. From the very first time she sees him at a poetry reading, Regina is mesmerized by Nicholas Brodeur, the seductive English professor with a rather shocking reputation. Although she is well aware that it may not be the smartest thing to do, Regina accepts a job as his assistant and slowly finds herself entering the world Nicholas and his wife, Martha, inhabit. Getting closer to Nicholas and Martha means a dis...more
Schadenfreude is a wonderful thing: we can watch empires fall and wonder why they didn’t have better homeowners’ insurance or more canned goods, whatever satisfies that secret need for smugness that we all need to indulge once in a while. A novel entitled My Education promises something along those lines too. We’re going to see someone learn something! Someone else, who’s not us. It suggests a spectacle, and for most of Susan Choi’s tale of impulsive love, it is—although not, ultimately, in the...more
This was a tiresome read for me. I appreciate Choi's ability to craft a complex and meaningful sentence, but I grew weary of the long, winding prose. I found some of the dialogue so unauthentic and pretentious that it made me laugh. The sex scenes were cringe worthy. Most tiresome were the selfish, self-absorbed, whiney characters. I noticed other reviewers remarked on the growth Regina demonstrated in the final third of the novel. It seems the opposite to me. Regina's last few interactions reve...more
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Susan Choi was born in South Bend, Indiana, and raised there and in Houston, Texas. She studied literature at Yale and writing at Cornell, and worked for several years as a fact-checker for The New Yorker.

Her first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize.

With David Remnick she c...more
More about Susan Choi...
A Person of Interest American Woman The Foreign Student: A Novel Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker The Martyred

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“I didn't grasp that desire and duty could rival each other, least of all that they most often did.” 3 likes
“So perhaps it was her grief I felt as I gazed on this child not mine, and not even much of a child anymore. Grief not for him, nor for Martha exactly, but for all my lost selves, which I liked to imagine were still somehow there, waiting for my return. But those selves were long gone. I would never be younger again. This was so simple it went without saying, but unsaid, one could try to forget it.” 2 likes
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