Bazi's Reviews > An Education: My Life Might Have Turned Out Differently if I Had Just Said No

An Education by Lynn Barber
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Oct 03, 2011

bookshelves: memoir
Read from October 03 to 05, 2011

I had never heard of Lynn Barber before I saw "An Education," although she's apparently quite the accoladed interviewer. I'm not quite sure where she was going with this book though. I do like her voice, she seems to know her own mind. But with most of the subjects she talked about I felt like whenever we were getting down to the nitty-gritty she stopped short. It's a short book and everything feels very bullet-pointed and brief. It could've been interesting from a this-is-what-it-was-like-to-work-at-a-magazine-then perspective but although she does talk about it a little it feels like a whirlwind. For example when she went to interview Bob Guiccione in New York after she had already left Penthouse. She said he had a huge house, lots of art he had always coveted, and earlier she had implied she wasn't a fan of his girlfriend Kathy. The next sentence then goes on to say she had flown back to London and after the interview was printed Bob called her and told her never to come to New York again because her interview had upset Kathy so much. Barber jokes about she always was kind of scared to go back to New York, but that's it. Well, what had she said? Why was it such a big deal? We don't get anything else. I guess she was trying to walk that line with being honest, not stepping on anyone's toes, and not boring people with facts.

I was excited to read about her time at Oxford but it was really just a brief account of her sexual escapades which, good for you girl, but was rather boring. She talks warmly and frankly about her husband and marriage, her decision to have kids. The blow-by-blow account of his last hospital stay was really hard to read.

While I enjoyed hearing stories from this cool lady I wouldn't know how to frame it as a book recommendation to someone. It's not really about the magazine industry, or her family, or a how-does-she-do-it juggling act between the two. But I think if anyone wanted a memoir that had a more realistic perspective then a tendency to over-dramatize, this is it.
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