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An Education

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  1,960 ratings  ·  258 reviews
When the journalist Lynn Barber was 16, she was picked up at a bus-stop by an attractive older man who drew up in his sports car - and her life was almost wrecked. A bright confident girl, on course to go to Oxford, she began a relationship which took her into the louche, semi-criminal world of west London just as the 1960s began.
Paperback, 183 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Tatiana
Jun 22, 2010 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who liked the movie adaptation and want to know more
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
As the majority of people who are currently reading An Education, I became interested in this book only because of the Oscar-nominated version of Lynn Barber's affair with an older man - I simply wanted to know if there was more to her story than shown on the big screen. In some ways, there was.

The movie is based on just one chapter of this very short book and, I have to say, the movie makers took quite a few liberties with the story. To my surprise, the real affair wasn't quite as dramatic as p
...more
Grace
Author and award winning journalist Lynn Barber's life is fascinating. She had an affair at 16 with an older, married man. Her first journalism job out of Oxford was at Penthouse. She won awards over the course of three decades. With a life like that, you'd think that her memoir would be spectacular, full of hilarious and poignant stories as she navigated school, marriage, her career, the births of two children, sex discrimination, and the death of her husband. But it's not. Her memoir is shallo ...more
oriana
I should just say, by the by, that this is one of my absolute favorite ways to read: I scored this book at the Brokelyn Book Swap (I forget what I traded for it; certainly some crap), and I knew and know absolutely nothing about it. I've never heard of Lynn Barber, I only know this book was made into a movie because it says so loudly on the back (and because Elizabeth kindly pointed it out below), I don't even know what the book is going to be about. But it turns out that I love it! It's the Bri ...more
Jennifer
Like many, I picked up this title after seeing the movie, and thinking that there was more to that story, and I wanted to read about it. I was astonished that the movie (well-told, emotionally satisfying) was adapted from one slim chapter in the book. A faithful adaptation, as well, except that our young protagonist seems rather more worldly than the charming naivete exhibited by Carey Mulligan; and that Peter Saarsgard is likely more handsome than the rakish lover in the book. That slim chapter ...more
Lady Ethereal Butterfly
When I picked up An Education by Lynn Barber, I was expecting something different from the book, but I wasn’t disappointed by what it delivered. It follows Lynn through various periods of her life, focusing a lot on her dating and love life as well as touching on her schooling and career. The synopsis on the back of the book is a bit deceptive in my opinion. I was under the impression that the memoir would focus almost solely on her experience as a 16-year-old in a relationship with a mysterious ...more
Andrea Mullarkey
When a colleague told me we’d gotten this screenplay and that we now own the book, the screenplay and the movie I thought it would make a great choice for our Book Into Film series. For no reason I can fathom, I read the screenplay before the memoir. It was wonderful, witty and fast and a bit heart-breaking. After the screenplay I watched the film and was pleased to see that Lone Scherfig had captured all of that and the wonderful style of 1960s London.

Charmed by both the screenplay and the film
...more
Klaudia
WARNING: DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE READING THIS BOOK. Despite the fact that the movie only dramatises (yes with an S and not with a Z) one chapter of this book, the viewer may be intrigued to know what a tragic mess that poor naive teenage girl made of the rest of her life. Or something else that's equally as far-fetched as that assumption. In reality, any assumptions made about Lynn Barber are NOT TRUE. I loved her memoir. Absolutely loved it. It doesn't even come close to fathomable that t ...more
beatricks
Dec 06, 2014 beatricks rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ariel
Shelves: 2014, listened
Listened to the whole short audiobook in one night. The first few sections I thought were wonderful. What is extraordinary is not her experience in the palm of a much older and corrupt man, but how she moved forward with resolve never to do things the same way again. Unable to trust, least of all her parents, yet eager to experience. It spoke to my experience as a teen and honestly shed some unexpected light on old traumas. Her latter stories are interesting as well, but she paints herself as an ...more
Emma
This is on my reading list for a course I am currently taking in college called "Britain After 1707," and I am glad it is on the list because honestly, this is not a book I would have picked up of my own accord. However, I really did enjoy it! I thought the strongest bit of the book was definitely the beginning, when Ms. Barber describes her time in grade school, her ambitions to go to Oxford, her relationship with Simon, and her years once she got to Oxford. She describes these experiences with ...more
Rebecca
Admittedly I read this after watching the film so came to it with some premeditated ideas on what to expect. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed by the memoir of her early life, the emotion was raw and she wasn't afraid to open up about the truth around, what can only be described as, the sordid affair (on his behalf mainly). The blurb of the book, however, claims that the memoirs are a description of how the affair affected her life; presumably to sell it along with the movie. Once her younge ...more
Irene
As most everyone, I became interested in this book when I realized that the Carey Mulligan movie had been inspired by true events, and that the original "Jenny" had composed a much more extensive memoir of her life.

Barber's life was certainly full of interesting events: her solitary childhood, her affair at 16, her bohemian college life, meeting and snatching the man of her life, her first hand experience at the birth of Penthouse and her work relationship with its founders, her career as an int
...more
Genevieve
I admit, I did read this after seeing the movie. And I did like the early portions about her youthful affairs the best. I realize that makes it sound like I liked the book in a shallow way, for the sensational bits, but really that's not it. Rather, Barber's writing about her childhood and college years offers a truly fascinating look at the development of her mind and the way that, as a young person, she tried to make sense of the world--something we all go through, but often in sharply differe ...more
Tosh
I was seduced by the graphic design of the cover, and it started off well, but it then turned into something really not interesting to me. i never heard of Lynn Barber before I picked up this book. But it starts off about her teenage affair with an older man, who of course was sort of a con-artist. The thing is I find him more fascinating than the author.

The middle part of the book is about her career as a journalist for various British newspapers and magazines, including Vanity Faire - but aga
...more
Katie
I picked this book up one day when I was sick because it was short and looked like it wouldn't tax my brain too much. I expected it to be like the movie, but better since I didn't really like the movie that much. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the section that discusses what the movie is about was a mere chapter and found Lynn's description of herself so much more understandable and sympathetic than the character in the movie. And then that was it. Besides little mentions of the affair, ...more
Melanie
I couldn't wait to read this book. I had read an excerpt in the Guardian (chapter 3 I think) about a relationship she had had with an older man when she was just 16. I wanted to know more. I ordered the book online and was immediately disappointed - it was too slim. It was done in one sitting and, frustratingly, chapter 3 was the most fascinating. Not much more was revealed about that episode of her life. It was strung together with other snippets, glimpses at her life - lots of sex at Oxford, w ...more
Jessica
I loved this memoir: it is a reminder that the most well-written or instructive memoirs are not always the ones written by "famous" people. I only picked up An Education because I LOVED the movie starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Saarsgard; although I was displeased at first that the plot of the movie is confined to perhaps only the first 30 or so pages of the book, the rest of the memoir is wonderful as well. It's a pleasure to read not only Lynn's great love story with her late husband, but to ...more
Penny
2.5
I'd looked forward to reading this - there was quite a fuss when it came out about the teenage affair with the much older man. Plus it seemed that Barber had lived an interesting life.
The Teenage Affair section was, to be honest, quite outstandingly dull. That's not to say that I was after salacious titbits, but for goodness sake. And could such a clever young girl (and we are constantly reminded just how clever she is) not have wondered sooner what on earth was going on with 'Simon'.
Disappo
...more
Kellie
This is one of those books that makes me wish I could give half stars - in this case a 3.5 instead of a full 4, but I did like the book enough to round up. As one of my Goodreads friends pointed out, Barber spends a lot of time recounting stories from her life with very little (in some cases practically no) reflection on them. Her stories were all quite interesting to me (especially her journalistic work in various magazines), but there were places I had questions and agreed that, yes, a little ...more
Corielle
“What did I get from Simon? An education – the thing my parents always wanted me to have.”

Simon was an older man who seduced Lynn Barber when she was sixteen, introduced her to a lot of very unsavory characters and scenes, and ultimately screwed her over mightily. She tells that story, along with details about her childhood, in the opening chapter of her memoir: An Education. It was fascinating — what Simon told her and showed her about a world she’d never encountered; how wholly her family fell
...more
Sarah
I'll admit it, I picked this up because I'd always wished I'd seen the movie with the Nick Hornby penned screenplay. In this memoir, her affair with a much older man turns out to be much less romantic and a relatively brief part of her story, but it still plays a role in the rest of her life.

Barber has had a fascinating career in journalism, getting her start at Penthouse during the height of the sexual revolution, and later becoming known as a tough interviewer, yet what struck me is how wonder
...more
Margaret
As I'm pretty much Lynn Barber's age, as I used to enjoy her interviews in the Observer, and as we both lived our pre-university lives in London, I thought this would be a book to savour.

Well, I dunno really. I whisked through it: it's a quick and easy read. Her teenage years were very different from my own, but after she'd described her childhood and That Teenage Adventure, the book settled down into giving a resume of her career. We learn little of Lynn the wife, Lynn the mother, Lynn the fri
...more
Beth
Q: prettiest cover EVER??

after reading: good! and the section on which the movie was based is only 25 pages long.
Eden
(the film is better) blasphemy!!! shush eden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ke Huang
I believe it was Oprah Winfrey who said that life is a never-ending lesson. This memoir recounts many of Barber's life lessons, which include her career as a journalist, growing up in a socially mobile family, and the part of her life portrayed in the film "An Education."

Barber had a fascinating life. I found the memoir's content more compelling than the author's execution of it. There were so many parts that she could have developed, edited down, and I guess the film "An Education" shows how a
...more
Marie-Louise
Of course, I saw the film first and adored it, it's definitely a personal favourite. I have been intrigued to read Barber's memoir for some time and it was worth the wait. Her witty, brave outlook on life is uplifting. Her romance with Simon really messed with her life, but I think it changed her for the better . It was fascinating to see how the film remained true to so many of the finer details. I loved this memoir. Barber has had such an interesting life and it's a joy to read a memoir of a p ...more
Renate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lex
An interesting memoir, written in a smooth concise narrative that doesn't get too bogged down by name-dropping, in spite of Lynn's prolific interviewing career.
The book shows a great insight into the the world of journalism, and the chapter on her husband's cancer is refreshingly honest and touching.
The 'An Education' chapter, recounts her experience as a naive teenager being conned by married older man Simon under her parents' noses. The piece, which was originally published in Granta magazine
...more
Elizabeth
I'm huge on memoirs. Especially memoirs with juicy stories, and when I read the back of this book and saw that the author had been in a relationship with an older man, I couldn't wait. I knew that the book would probably be really sad because that never can end well. And I was amazed at the story of that relationship. But then that story was over after like... 3 chapters. And there were lots of chapters left.

Don't get me wrong, everything after her and Simon was interesting. Lynn talks about her
...more
Tina Rae
Apr 15, 2013 Tina Rae rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of memoirs
Recommended to Tina Rae by: Cathy
Shelves: book-club, favorites
Edit, Read It Again:
I think this book has become my graduation book. The first time I read it was three years ago when I was about graduate from high school. Now I'm about to graduate from community college and I read it again. Clearly, I just like to read it in the crazy busy months before graduations, haha.

Rereading my old review, my thoughts on this book are pretty much the same. I still thoroughly enjoyed it, much more than the film version. Though, honestly, I think I may have enjoyed it a
...more
Katie
This memoir was the inspiration for the movie "An Education." I liked the movie and was interested to learn more about the author. For what it's worth, the section of the memoir covered in the movie was maybe 30 pages--which makes sense because the movie covered two years of the author's teenhood, and she was about 60 when the book came out, so yes, there's more to talk about. But there wasn't a whole lot more in those 30 pages than one sees in the movie.

The author seems to have led a pretty int
...more
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“I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do; I learned to suspect that anyone and everyone is capable of 'living a lie'. I came to believe that other people - even when you think you know them well - are ultimately unknowable.” 40 likes
“...Everything I had learned or assimilated from my parents I now regarded as unreliable, and needing to be rethought from scratch. In fact, I probably went further-I felt that everything my parents believed was by definition wrong, and that if I ever felt myself in agreement with my parents I should immediately recant. Everything... needed to be jettisoned. But in a way what they said wasn't the problem: what I was more worried about was the attitudes, prejudices, beliefs I might have picked up from them subconsciously or before I was old enough to even know what I was learning. Effectively, I had to question everything I believed, and never accept my own instincts. It required constant vigilance; it was intellectually exhausting.” 10 likes
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