Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

4.5 Stars: An Amazing Read
Paperback: 352 Pages
Publication: January 8, 2013 by Harper Perrenial


Afraid of losing her parents at a young age, Naomi Feinstein prepares single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. But when her only friend and confidant abruptly departs from her life, Naomi isn't sure she will ever recover, even after a long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Yet Naomi soon learns that college isn't the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness--until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi's introduction to Wellesley's oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students. As Namoi immerses herself in this exciting and liberating world, her hapiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings devastating consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

An Uncommon Education is a coming-of-age story that follows Naomi from early childhood to her adult years. Over the years, Naomi learns things about her family that she wonder might have been better left alone, she finds love in different people and in different forms, and she comes to terms with who she is and what she wants to do with her life.

Naomi is a gifted child with a photographic memory. An ambitious child, she isn't satisfied with passing the days in blissful ignorance. She asks questions, hard questions for adults to answer given her young age. At the same time that her talent allows her to read and remember texts beyond her level, however, it isolates her from those around her, beliving her cursed or possessed. From childhood through college, she makes few true friends, and even then they all have their own secrets and she must watch those she care about leave her. She runs to leave her problems behind her, and she even finds some comfort in studying during her first year at Wellesley. Life moves on though, and she must learn to confront her deepest fears.

The story is told in five parts, which I found interesting because of the significant role that the Shakespeare Society has on Naomi's life. There, she is able to free herself of the many burdens that she's placed on herself, giving her the freedom and space necessary to explore who she is as an individual and not who she thinks she must be. She makes friends that stay around through her college years and even into her adult life, she learns how to love and move on, and she learns about betrayal.

I always wondered, growing up, about my mom's words that the college years would be the best years of my life. Was she right or wrong? I know believe that it is worth the experience. Even more than during the adolescent years, the college years are about discovering what we truly want in life, and it is when we really find our self identity. Away from her parents, Naomi is alone and cannot continue to let anyone else other than herself define her if she wants to survive. And it is at Wellesley that she breaks free of her limitations and finds her own form of happiness. I love this book and recommend it for readers looking for New Adult books, especially readers that lean towards more literary works.

1 comment:

  1. Well, as a college student this book certainly appeals to me! It's going straight to my wishlist. Great review!

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