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My Education

3.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,473 Ratings  ·  419 Reviews
An intimately charged novel of desire and disaster from the author of American Woman and A Person of Interest

Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill. He’s said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He’s condemn
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 3rd 2013 by Viking (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 27, 2013 Dan rated it it was ok
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
Jul 16, 2013 Jill rated it it was amazing
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
Oliver Schnusenberg
Aug 16, 2013 Oliver Schnusenberg rated it did not like it
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),
Stephanie Sun
Even better the second time around: it's rare to come across a work of American fiction that is this well put together. It isn't perfect. There is dialogue that no human being would ever say. Choi's sharp yet cartoonish portrayal of the Hallett-Brodeurs' Latina nanny borders at times on the dehumanizing. But I love these characters, I love this story and its beautiful little symmetries, and I love Choi's confidently measured prose.


August 3, 2013 Review:

"A firm push, on smooth waters. After I'd
Jessica Harlan
Jul 21, 2013 Jessica Harlan rated it it was ok
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
Jul 15, 2013 Susan rated it it was ok
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
Feb 07, 2016 Abby rated it liked it
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
Peter Rock
Apr 23, 2013 Peter Rock rated it it was amazing
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)
Jul 17, 2013 switterbug (Betsey) rated it really liked it
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
Ayelet Waldman
Apr 02, 2014 Ayelet Waldman rated it it was amazing
This book was terrific, and terrifically sexy.
Emi Bevacqua
May 17, 2014 Emi Bevacqua rated it did not like it
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
This book's graphic artsy-comic cover attracted me, but I hated everything inside it, especially the writing. The story is about Regina Gottlieb, the world's most self-obsessed grad student ever, who in 1992 gets involved with her roommate, while stalking the object of her lusty obsession - an infamous professor who becomes first her mentor and employer and then friend and then cuckolded victim of her adultery and then her lover and then back to being her friend again. The reader is given no rea ...more
Mike Cuthbert
Jun 22, 2013 Mike Cuthbert rated it really liked it
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
Feb 20, 2015 Kerri rated it really liked it
4.5/5.0 Stars

I really enjoyed this one. The first two-thirds takes place in the early 1990s in an East Coast college town, and the last third takes place in the present. Regina, a first year literature graduate student when the action begins, narrates from an older/wiser place of reminiscence. She tells the story of how she became romantically involved with her mentor's wife (a literature professor in her 30s), while the marriage (between the mentor and his wife) was in the process of disintegra
Jul 13, 2013 Diana rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2013 Michael rated it it was ok
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
Jul 21, 2013 Katrina rated it it was ok
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
Sep 14, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: loathed
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.
Megan Gargiulo
May 21, 2016 Megan Gargiulo rated it it was ok
This is a minor detail that illustrates my larger irritation with this book as a whole. Did anyone else notice that Lucia, the nanny, was supposedly Brazilian but spoke Spanish (she exclaims Dios mío and is later described as pronouncing Joachim "the Spanish way;" hilariously, the actual correct pronunciation of Joachim in Portuguese is described as "the pretentious English way"). It is unfathomable and insulting to me that someone who attended two Ivy League schools (Choi) does not know that th ...more
Jul 15, 2013 Tamara rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction, 2013
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
Sep 14, 2013 Mjl rated it liked it
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
Nov 19, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it

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
Jul 05, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was ok
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
Jul 08, 2013 Thien-Kim rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 24, 2016 Danielle rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, queer
I started this book thinking it would be a favorite of mine. I really loved Choi's writing style. But, oh man, this book ended up being insanely boring. I liked how the main character, Regina, would explain how she viewed those she was attracted to, but then once she was able to "obtain" these people it just got long. And I got annoyed at having to read about her alcohol induced vomiting over and over.

I did like Choi's long, drawn out sentences. I felt like I could picture the settings so vividl
Jul 16, 2015 Janet rated it did not like it
I'm not generally good at suspending my disbelief and this book went way beyond my limits. The characters get money thrown at them, as a result of their brilliance, when they're not even trying, when their parents die. They are SO insightful, and can fill each other in on, well, each other and themselves after years and decades apart. They become alcoholic and then cease to be alcoholic without benefit of any kind of recovery. There is not an overweight one among them. And they live happily ever ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jul 17, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it liked it
Shelves: sex-as-subject
Where did all the passion go?

This book began like gangbusters, labored a bit in its middle third, and ended by loosely tying up loose ends—more loose ends, actually, than you might think had been left hanging in the first place. I am glad to have read it, but strongly suspect I shall soon forget having done so.

It is 1992. Regina Gottlieb is beginning graduate school in English at some prestigious northeastern university. The list of course offerings is one of the small nuggets of academic parody
Sam Fletcher
Jan 11, 2014 Sam Fletcher rated it it was ok
Tiring in its pretentious and lofty language until the final 50 pages or so. Choi's protagonist is inauthentic and contrived, disregarding important details of her costars' integrity in favor of a romanticized trounce through queer experience. I found myself disappointed and offended at the way Choi's leading lady painted a minimized version of queer relationships; this is why I don't typically chance books from the new fiction rack. Partial redemption in the end - at least the brat grows up a b ...more
Apr 29, 2014 Lila rated it it was amazing
Wow. I've yet to read reviews or interviews, but I am very much looking forward to it. Susan Choi is an author I somehow managed to never hear of before a friend with fantastic taste in books posted a review of My Education. The experience of reading this book was utterly unique to me. As usual, I experienced it via audiobook, and the overly eager, sometimes bordering on shrill voice of the reader was a perfect fit for the very real protagonist, Regina. Things about this book I loved:

- A bisexu
Karelia Stetz-Waters
Jan 24, 2015 Karelia Stetz-Waters rated it it was amazing
I underlined a sentence every page or two because the writing was so exquisite! Choi has an amazing ability to capture the human condition in a perfectly crafted phrase.
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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
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“I didn't grasp that desire and duty could rival each other, least of all that they most often did.” 4 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.” 3 likes
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