Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Schooling” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.15  ·  Rating Details ·  275 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Heather McGowan’s widely praised first novel introduces a literary artist of consummate skill, and a narrative voice of astonishing sensitivity and sensuousness. Tracking every mercurial shift of her character’s consciousness, the result is dreamy, disquieting, and achingly alive.

Schooling is a portrait of an adolescent girl, thirteen-year-old Catrine Evans, who following
ebook, 320 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published June 19th 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Schooling, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Schooling

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 30, 2008 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So Heather McGowan was my grad student professor at Brown in a creative writing class that I adored. I think she had a short story of the same character published in an anthology prior to the release of this novel.
Prepare yourself. She is a tough writer, and this was a crazy read. The narrator is this young girl who you can't really trust - is it her imagination or reality? She's very stream of conscious, which I love, but again, you really have to get into the narrator's mind, go with the flow
Jan 16, 2011 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This got a certain amount of criticism for being stylistically too difficult - NY Times reviewer: "Heather McGowan's first novel is, in the most fundamental meaning of the word, unreadable: it cannot be read, which isn't to say that there aren't other ways to experience or even enjoy it", but in fact you can let your eyes travel over all the words and know what is going on at least 80% of the time. On one level, a British boarding school novel that makes one almost tempted to invoke Stalky & ...more
Dec 18, 2011 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list-books
I quite enjoyed bits of Schooling, but stylistically it annoyed the hell out of me. The narrative was all messed up and smothered by stream of consciousness, poorly punctuated, multi narrative mess, taking a lot of the feeling out of the story. Catrine gets sent to boarding school in England after maybe or maybe not killing a man. She gets in with the wrong crowd at school, has an affair with a teacher, and grows up a little bit. But it's disjointed and awkward and maybe that's supposed to just ...more
Jennifer Barbee
I was so excited about this book. The plot sounded juicy and the writing style seemed unique, but in the end, the stream-of-consciousness of an irritating character became tedious. I couldn't wait to finish this and move on to something else. I felt the writer's heavy hand all throughout this novel. I wanted it to be so much better.
Oct 07, 2012 Sonja marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
oh i love boarding school stories!
Sep 01, 2010 Parksy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Very difficult read due to the stream of consciousness style, but very clever and interesting.

From Publishers Weekly
In her emotionally resonant and keenly observed first novel, McGowan employs a stream-of-consciousness prose style to describe the trials of a 13-year-old American girl when she is sent to an English boarding school following the death of her mother. From Maine, Catrine Evans travels to Monstead, the school north of London that her father, Teddy, born in Wales, attended during W
Aug 08, 2015 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catrine Evans, a 13 year old American girl, begins attending a British boarding school after her mother dies and her father moves to England. The story covers roughly one term of her study and is told in part via stream of consciousness and in part third person narrative. It is experimental, it can make the brain spin, and the lack of punctuation can make one hold one's breath:
"She takes away her hand but puts a plea in her eyes not too much not too dramatic but just enough just enough to say y
Dec 07, 2010 Josie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think what is happening here is that McGowan chooses a trope plot--the illicit, almost innocent relationship of a teacher (male, 34) and a boarding school pupil (female, 13-14)--as a platform for an experimental mode of storytelling. I think the book is a little bit of a failure because of this compromise, but it is also totally worth reading.

The narrative is mostly from the girl, Catrine's, point of view (perhaps it is entirely so), yet from multiple angles. Sometimes it is in the manner of a
May 12, 2014 Melinda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I applaud Heather McGowan's debut effort Schooling. Most impressed with McGowan's use of stream of consciousness style which adds texture and depth to both narrative and characters.

Schooling is a sophisticated and involved coming of age story of 14 year old Catrine. Catrine is a young girl facing many issues at once. Banished to boarding school, ignored by her father. Young Catrine craves love and attention and gains the attention of her chemistry teacher Mr Gilbert. What begins as an innoc
Jul 15, 2014 Ian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Revives a very Woolf-style stream-of-consciousness effect, but McGowan seems determined to make it even harder for the less-than-fully-focussed reader by allowing past as well as present events to crowd in on the narrative. That is not too surprising though when you consider that the protagonist is a 13-year-old girl, Catrine Evans, transplanted from America into an English public School, Monstead, while still grieving for the loss of her mother. Given her efforts to fit in, her guilt over a pos ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a strange book and not the easiest to follow, but very rewarding, if you can handle the experimental style. McGowan seems to move effortlessly between different currents of thought, memory, and sensation, suggesting a multiplicity of perspectives while still remaining true to the subjectivity of the protagonist, Catrine Evans. I enjoyed the occasional obscurities of this novel, the references to art and literature, and the experiments with form; in fact, the long dramatic cycle at the e ...more
This book is full of intercut sentences and few typographical clues: almost a stream of consciousness from a mind given even more than usual to tangential thinking and distraction. Yet Catrine, far from being manic, is often described by others in the book as sullen or petulant. The plot is a classic Don't Stand so Close to me tale: Catrine finds that she is not yet ready to handle the adult relationship she craves and things fall messily and inevitably apart. There are some interesting sections ...more
May 07, 2014 Morgan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: experimental
Stream of consciousness/cross-genre Lolita set in a British boarding school. Not as fun as it sounds. While I really enjoy the work of Carole Maso, and I found this novel's style reminiscent of AVA, I didn't find it nearly as readable. While the style did capture some of the broody uncertainty of the mind of a young teen, it was often disjointed and rather tiring. I really did not need any of the sections from the point of view of other characters. That got tedious quite quickly. Yet another boo ...more
Apr 13, 2013 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Astonishing. One of the best novels I have ever read, which sounds like absurd hype - but in this case it's true. The subject is disturbing - an appropriate relationship between a male teacher and girl pupil - but the style, insight and overall technique are breathtaking. Truly original, and often hilarious as well as painful. This book shows what the novel could be, if only writers had a bit of ambition. It's a novel written as if Woolf and Joyce still mattered. I've read it twice, twelve years ...more
Dec 09, 2013 A.J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a book I could read quickly - the stream-of-consciousness style demands close attention. The story interweaves the past and the present, dialogue, thoughts and quotations in a way that reminded me of reading T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. As I started reading I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to stick with it (part of me resented being made to work so hard), but I was drawn into Catrine's experiences and found parallels with experiences of my own school days (Lilt! I'd forgotten ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2016 Daintythings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off - it's a stream of consciousness style, so know that before jumping in. I thought it was a really refreshing and honest look at the mind of a young girl looking to have others value her or "lift her up" - it's messy and the main character is shameful, but it's very real and I appreciated it.
Mar 30, 2016 Vicky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
After her mother dies, a14 year old American girl is taken to England by her Welsh father to attend boarding school. While there, a teacher shows interest in her, teaching her to paint and taking her places.

The book is written in a stream of consciousness style that I don't particularly like. In fact, at times it is hard to understand what's going on.
Apr 22, 2013 Sophie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
This is very unusual for me to leave a book unfinished I just couldn't bring myself to finish this book. Written in a stream-of-consciousness, it was actually rather cleverly written, but the style prevented me from really feeling anything for any of the characters, and as a result I just stopped caring about half way through.
Suzanne Hamilton
So I could admire the author's efforts at creating the haze and muddlement of grief and loneliness, and I could be mildly intrigued by the interesting girl whose story this is, but I couldn't push myself to finish the book. Too vague, too meandering, convoluted, whatever other adjective one can muster ...
Duane Sobczak
Aug 23, 2014 Duane Sobczak rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure I would have liked this book if it was written n such random and frenetic snap shots. There were points that I read 20 or 30 pages and really couldn't recall what it was that I just read. I see no need to pan this book, because my main issue was with the style of the writing. The story, when I could follow it, was actually interesting.
Annie Holmes
Adolescence, a stream-of-consciousness boarding school drama, stylistically somewhere between Woolf and Macbride, Mrs Dalloway and A Girl is a Half Formed Thing. It held me by the end of the story, despite wafting.

Highly charged and topical theme given an interesting treatment, could be contentious.
Stephen Flanagan
Just started... first 14 chapters are facinating. A writing style that uses one sentence to simultaneously convey two topics. That doesn't do McGowan justice, but this writing is superb. More later
Kerry Poznanski
Dec 27, 2013 Kerry Poznanski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
TERRIBLE! I do not like stream of consciousness writing in general, but this has to be the single worst book I have ever read. I did not find any of the characters likable, the story line is boring and the ending pointless.
Oct 07, 2012 Kb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A girl dealing with grief and dislocation trying to make her way in a completely different country. The style at times made it difficult to understand what was happening but the language captured the difficulties of memory, cultural shock, grief and wanting to be special.
May 14, 2009 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was the most whacked out disjointed insane thing i have ever ever read and i will never in my entire lifetime forget that experience.
Sep 27, 2013 Tara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just couldn't get into the story. I think it had to do with the way it was written more than the story itself.
Jayne Bauling
Feb 20, 2014 Jayne Bauling rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
All the ellipses distract from the story, twenty-three on one page. Maybe they're intended as bubbles in the stream of consciousness.
Michael Brown
Michael Brown rated it it was amazing
Jan 12, 2011
Stephanie rated it liked it
Oct 08, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Adjunct: An Undigest
  • Small Remedies
  • Islands
  • Dining on Stones
  • Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
  • Thursbitch
  • In the Forest
  • Shroud
  • Celestial Harmonies
  • Gabriel's Gift
  • An Obedient Father
  • That They May Face The Rising Sun
  • The Heart of Redness
  • Everything You Need
  • Vanishing Point
  • The Light of Day
  • The Red Queen
  • Nowhere Man

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Only a man of genius can bare a solitary life.” 4 likes
“Some have it that patience is actually despair dressed as a virtue.” 2 likes
More quotes…