karen's Reviews > An Uncommon Education

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer
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's review
Feb 29, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: books-claiming-to-be-like-secret-hi
Read from February 29 to March 02, 2012

ugh, i don't want to write this review. because it's not that the book is bad, it just never worked for me. there is something so cheeky and earnest about this book, but it's like an amish girl going on her rumspringa. not that she's trying to be gritty or shocking at all, but it just feels wrong, somehow, tentative, like she is trying to write dramatic irony way out of her depth without realizing it.

i feel like the author is probably a really really good person. she just isn't great at writing characters.and i feel just awful writing a bad review for this book - it feels like slapping something sincere in the face. she knows a lot about wellesley, she did go there, after all, and that part shows, but she doesn't know how to make a reader believe in her characters.

it is boring to read a character who is this emotionally cauterized, who seems to never do the things that a normal human would do in her various situations. but it doesn't seem to be a conscious choice on the part of the writer, like she is trying to explore this element of damage and retreat and decision-making as a consequence of growth or adulthood. there is no art to the writing.

for example - naomi plays laertes in her production of hamlet. fine. but, the obvious choice would have been to make her hamlet, and to have her offstage life mirror that character's own difficulties with confrontation and inaction,blah blah blah. and it is totally creative writing 101 amateur hour stuff, but it would have at least given some substance to the novel. but percer never makes that potentially more rewarding comparison. naomi is not quite a hamlet who wrestles with her choices, she simply drifts into making the laziest choices possible. she has no agency at all (view spoiler) and it would be one thing if the point was that the life of the mind has profoundly negative impact on one's emotional life, but i really just don't buy her as some great genius. having a photographic memory is a fine tool, but she never has the drive a true scholar has. she is a dilettante with a wasted gift. she settles time and time again because she lacks the motivation to do anything. she
comes across as wooden and unfeeling and robotic.

nothing in this book meshes, nothing has any purpose, nothing seems to have consequence enough to engage the reader. nothing ties this novel together.

for me.

you might like it.

i am putting this on my "books that claim to be just like secret history shelf, because although this book does not overtly make that claim, on the back cover it is compared to several things that are frequently compared to secret history so - transitive property, and that is why i read this book. but that is not the reason i didn't like it. i just... didn't.
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Comments (showing 1-38 of 38) (38 new)

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karen i was thinking more like this:

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Gosling can't catch a break. Poor guy.

karen he's still mad i wouldn't let him sit on the floor in front of the marquez. take that, heartthrob!

message 5: by Adam (new)

Adam Floridia It must take a special kind of un-enjoyable for you to give a mere one star. Only 11 of your 3024. Does this mean anything you give two stars is actually quite a stinker, too?

karen one stars i want to murder.

twos probably have some merit to someone, just not me. i feel horrible giving this one 2 stars, but i really didn't like it. although there were a couple of things i liked. i do, i feel awful.


karen Thomas wrote: "karen wrote: "he's still mad i wouldn't let him sit on the floor in front of the marquez. take that, heartthrob!"

i dont know that story."

just that, basically. he was a sitter, and you know how i feel about sitters. i had to bounce him.

message 8: by Jen (new)

Jen How mad was he?

message 9: by Jen (new)

Jen Mad enough to buy a Marquez and take it to the park, or just mad enough to leave without any magical realism?

karen he wasn't mad, he just seemed confused. he took off his shirt and said "but i am the gosling!!!"

and i said " but i am the goose!!"

that part never happened.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio karen wrote: "i wouldn't let him sit on the floor in front of the marquez."


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (I tried to find a picture of him crying, but somehow couldn't. I thought he was a crier. Guess not.)

message 14: by Jen (new)

Jen Maybe he was looking for book help and just got lost in the GGM area.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Jen wrote: "http://newstrackindia.com/newsdetails..."

"I read that book, The Game. I like to call it The Lame."

karen he read it while sitting on the floor in front of my shelves, probably.

message 17: by B0nnie (new)

B0nnie karen wrote: "he wasn't mad, he just seemed confused. he took off his shirt and said "but i am the gosling!!!"

and i said " but i am the goose!!"

that part never happened."

damn! hahaha

message 18: by Mariel (new)

Mariel He doesn't cry! He will hug you in the rain romantically.

karen he will give me pneumonia!

karen please don't put my name in quotes - i am a real girl.

message 21: by Miriam (new)

Miriam You loved this book enough to come trolling other people's reviews, but not enough to write your own? How doe that make sense, "Corissa"?

karen wow. "fatal error."

i think i wrote a very generous review, considering what i was working with. i stated several times that i felt bad about writing a negative review, and at the end of my review said "you might like it" to whomever was reading. there are a number of negative reviews of this book on goodreads, citing flat characters and sloppy and uneven writing, so it's not like i'm the only one noticing these things.

i'm really glad you liked this book - as i was hoping to, but let's not get overdramatic here.

message 23: by Jason (new)

Jason You are trolling this review. By definition. Explaining your disagreements with it is one thing—as you said, that is what Goodreads is for. But calling the review itself terrible and ignorant is, in fact, ignorant and terrible. "Corissa."

message 24: by Jason (new)

Jason Bye!

karen oh, god, relax, it's just a book.

to be fair, I can't agree with this terribly written and ignorant review. It shows a clear lack of maturity and perception on Karen's part. isn't super-polite, either. considering how careful i was in my review to be kind to a first-time, well-meaning novelist.

but i'm leaving for a while, feel free to tell me how wrong and ignorant i am until i get back.

message 26: by Rod (new)

Rod Let me guess: "Friends" with the author? [Takes a moment to verify]


message 27: by Jason (new)

Jason Karen you wrong and ignorant.

karen man, only 4 stars to a friend's book? that's cold.

karen Jason wrote: "Karen you wrong and ignorant."

ahhhh, it never gets old...

okay - leaving for real now - i expect four pages of insults before i return. get on that.

message 30: by Rod (new)

Rod Percer street team assemble!

message 31: by Jason (new)

Jason I hate when trolls disappear. Makes us look like FOOLS, dammit!

message 32: by Rod (new)

Rod I guess Corissa explained it all.

message 33: by Ed (new)

Ed [Redacted] Hmmmmmm, Oh! I have one.


How is this at all a review? Seriously, most of what you wrote here wasn't even about the book in anyway. And, then, you barely even mentioned that you read the book or even had an opinion of it. This is precisely why I stopped reading your reviews and unfollowed you.

A modern classic

karen wait - she deleted? so she rolls up to tell me how ignorant and immature i am and then scurries away when i remain reasonable to her? amateur.

karen and she promised a review! so far, no review. i can't wait forever, "corissa!"

message 36: by David (new)

David Brissy, people are really starting to hate your guts on this website.

Soon you'll be less popular than rivka around here.

karen yeah, no shit.

i have overstayed my welcome.

message 38: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Don't write anything while you're out of town. They're taking you for granted.

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