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My Education PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: My Education
Author: Susan Choi
Publisher: Published July 3rd 2013 by Viking (first published January 1st 2013)
ISBN: 9780670024902
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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An intimately charged novel of desire and disaster from the author of American Woman and A Person of Interest Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill. He’s said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He’s condemn An intimately charged novel of desire and disaster from the author of American Woman and A Person of Interest Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill. He’s said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He’s condemned on the walls of the women’s restroom, and enjoys films by Roman Polanski. But no one has warned Regina about his exceptional physical beauty—or his charismatic, volatile wife. My Education is the story of Regina’s mistakes, which only begin in the bedroom, and end—if they do—fifteen years in the future and thousands of miles away. By turns erotic and completely catastrophic, Regina’s misadventures demonstrate what can happen when the chasm between desire and duty is too wide to bridge.

30 review for My Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    My Education is a brilliantly written, incomprehensibly boring novel. I use “incomprehensible” not merely as a substitute for “stultifyingly” or “incredibly,” but to convey the mystery of why and how it is so boring. The jacket notes that Choi “teaches at Princeton”), but I’m sure that has absolutely nothing to do with twenty-one year old English grad student Regina’s reverence/awe/unbridled lust for professors, male or female. And hey, everybody lusts after Regina because…let me get back to you My Education is a brilliantly written, incomprehensibly boring novel. I use “incomprehensible” not merely as a substitute for “stultifyingly” or “incredibly,” but to convey the mystery of why and how it is so boring. The jacket notes that Choi “teaches at Princeton”), but I’m sure that has absolutely nothing to do with twenty-one year old English grad student Regina’s reverence/awe/unbridled lust for professors, male or female. And hey, everybody lusts after Regina because…let me get back to you on that one. (spoiler alert) On the surface, the subject matter (Hot. Lesbian. Sex! And some Hetero sex thrown in too because…why not! ) is not inherently boring. Regina Gottlieb is twenty-one years and has no hang-ups about sex with any gender. She doesn’t seem to have any hang-ups at all. Perhaps it’s boring because of the writing style. Susan Choi is a master at mixing sentences up in a non-predictable manner. She’s like an experienced pitcher who always keeps the batter guessing. On the jacket (and let me just say, I’m in love with the jacket illustration by Jessica Abel, design by Jim Tierney. It shows the protagonist sitting up in bed, naked but for the cover pulled over her, deep in thought while another sleeps peacefully next to her. I rarely non-e-books anymore. I think I justified this hardcover the jacket. But I digress…). Anyway, on the jacket Michael Cunningham writes “She has written lines that could be framed and displayed at a sentence festival.” I’ll agree that many of her sentences are rather amazing, but perhaps not in the way Cunningham supposes. I found myself having to re-read many long convoluted the sentences two or three times to make sense of what she was saying. What kind of jerk-off would want to go to a sentence festival, anyway? I don’t like being bored by unimaginative sentence patterns. But I don’t like having to work my ass off just to understand what’s going on. But this isn’t a matter of whether you or I am a girly-man when it comes to working through elaborate sentences. Rather, it’s a matter of what is lost when the reader has to work so hard. There ain’t nothin’ for free. When the reader has to re-read sentences or simply go at a slower pace, momentum is lost. As I see it, Momentum in a novel refers to that mysterious “oomf” that propels a reader to turn the page so he or she can find out what happens next. Momentum is all but absent from this novel. There were many, many times, where I was sorely tempted to put the book down and never pick it up again. I finished this 296 page novel through grim determination. I have the page count memorized, because I kept peeking ahead hoping the number would somehow magically go down. I think the only reason why I kept at it was because I thought its subject matter mirrors much of my writing and so I thought it would be helpful for my own writing (which it was), but mostly I wanted to get the most out of the $26.95 I so stupidly paid for the hardcover edition. The lack of momentum isn’t simply because Regina is an annoying character. She’s a self-absorbed, self-indulgent, amoral, self-important smarty-pants. But these are not fatal flaws in a novel. In one sense, she isn’t herself boring. She reaches out for what she wants and she frames stories in unusual and surprising ways. And yet…I didn’t care. I’m sure there are many people in this world just like Regina, but I’ve never met anyone like her, and don’t particularly care if I ever do. It’s tempting to say her total self-absorption is why the novel is boring. But ultimately, it’s about the story. Choi is hell-bent on not writing a simple love-triangle (or quadrangle, whatever), where the heroine has to decide between one or another. No, that would be passé. Her high-powered reading buddies (according to the acknowledgements, Jhumpa Lahiri and Jennifer Egan) would make fun of her behind her back when she went to the bathroom. Choi throws a lot of sand in the reader’s face. She starts out telling us she’s fascinated with a bad-boy professor. But he’s just a distraction until we get to his wife, Martha. Also in the beginning she has casual sex with Dutra, a fellow grad student who’s so cool it takes us two hundred some pages to discover his first name). Choi doesn’t want this to be about whether Regina is in love with Dutra or Martha and whether she’s gay or straight, because that’s been done to death and it would be so boring. So Dutra is given short shrift. Except half-way into the novel Choi realizes, oh shit, I have to have some semblance of a plot. So Dutra is given more weight and Regina starts acknowledging him as a person instead of a punch line. Here is where the novel starts to click, but no sooner than it happens, a resolution happens suddenly. I suspect Choi was really pissed that she had to resort to normal novel-y form, and cut it off as soon as she could. But the problem is that at this point, she’s only at 212 pages. Nowhere near the magical 300 page number milestone. Don’t want to piss off the publisher. They can’t charge $26 for a 212 page hardcover. So the reader is then presented with 84 pages of a wheezy middle-aged woman fantasy about how super-duper awesome it would be to be married, have a kid, but still have former loves pining for you. Because, you know, you’re such a fabulous person that they just can’t quit you. Choi constructs a world where it’s totally cool to abandon your hubby and child for a weekend of hot-hot-hot middle-aged lesbian sex because you’re so not going to abandon your guiltless husband and child. An affair is ok because the husband’s a boring shmoe, but not an outright break-up. Besides, Regina passes up the chance for hot hot hot sex with Dutra even though she totally could have gotten away with it. Yes, love triangles have been done to death. But the form works! Deviate from that form, and you better have absolute freaking magic on your hands because otherwise you’ve got a formless blob of a story that only masochists and sentence fetishists will love. I haven’t read her other work, but based on this novel, Choi should give up trying to be a fiction writer. Her offhand observations on the nature of love are actually quite insightful. She would be better off writing essays or an old-fashioned memoir. Maybe Lahiri and Egan won’t have coffee with her anymore, but they clearly don’t have her best interest in mind, or they would have forced more order on this novel.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Schnusenberg

    For me, reading this book was absolute torture. I had high hopes, since it was marked fairly highly on EW's list. For me, it was a complete letdown. Here are my major criticisms of the book (for what they are worth): 1) The writing and prose seemed utterly pretentious. Don't just use high-level words because you can, use them because they make sense in a particular setting. The prose is just rambling at times, with paragraphs that stretch over two pages, with seemingly no point. 2) Related to 1), For me, reading this book was absolute torture. I had high hopes, since it was marked fairly highly on EW's list. For me, it was a complete letdown. Here are my major criticisms of the book (for what they are worth): 1) The writing and prose seemed utterly pretentious. Don't just use high-level words because you can, use them because they make sense in a particular setting. The prose is just rambling at times, with paragraphs that stretch over two pages, with seemingly no point. 2) Related to 1), is it really necessary to throw in extremely vulgar language occasionally? If the point is to break up the otherwise fairly monotonous writing, then it was accomplished. 3) What is the motivation of any of the characters, other than pure hedonism, hubris, and narcissism? To me, it was not obvious why any of the characters were doing anything. Even the acts of love seemed completely random. The main characters just did what they felt like at any particular moment, without any thought at all as to potential consequences, etc. 4) I don't think there is a single person in the book that seems likeable, at least to me. While I can sympathize with all the characters and their situations, I don't think I would like any of them if I met them. It is entirely possible that I just didn't get it and completely missed the point. Or maybe the point of the book was exactly what I perceive as its shortcomings. In either case, the book to me just seemed weird and senseless.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Novels about naïve college-aged students who fall into the throes of older, charismatic professors are nothing new; neither are novels about love that veers into obsession. Susan Choi’s latest novel incorporates both these themes, but in a distinctive way, spiced with strong insights into the very nature of love, marriage and forgiveness. Rather early on in the book, Ms. Choi throws a curve ball at the reader, turning our preconceived notions about what the book will be about on its ear. Everythi Novels about naïve college-aged students who fall into the throes of older, charismatic professors are nothing new; neither are novels about love that veers into obsession. Susan Choi’s latest novel incorporates both these themes, but in a distinctive way, spiced with strong insights into the very nature of love, marriage and forgiveness. Rather early on in the book, Ms. Choi throws a curve ball at the reader, turning our preconceived notions about what the book will be about on its ear. Everything else in the book will radiate from this plot twist and it is unfair to discuss it – which makes even amateur reviewing particularly challenging. The bare bones of the plot –without spoilers – are these: a first-year graduate student in literature named Regina is fascinated by the legends that surround a particular professor…so much so that she signs up for his class. She is appointed his TA, and gradually, falls under the orbit of the professor – Nicholas Brodeur – and his magnetic, free-spirited wife, Martha. The writing is luscious (with the exception of a few wince-worthy sex scenes) and finely-crafted. But it is the themes that entice the reader. Through her characters, the author asks the reader to consider the thin lines between lightning-bolt love, emotional intimacy, friendship, and sexual ardor. What happens when the lines blur? Can they co-exist? What if two lovers are in completely different places? As one character says to the other, “I don’t feel the way you do. I don’t mean I don’t share your emotions. That when you feel happy I’m sad. I mean something more basic. Not type but degree. Whatever I feel, I don’t feel it the way that you do.” Ms. Choi also takes a close look at the difference in love at different stages. In her early 20s, Regina refers to herself as “a perfect impostor”. She says, “Only love mattered to me: the singularity of it, the damnable difficulty of it, the solution I knew must lie just out of reach.” She is in turns, obsessive, insecure, tortured, yearning, and demanding; unselfishness and generosity of spirit have little to do with it. Her lover is far more nuanced, given the years that separate them. Secondary characters, such as Regina’s brilliant housemate and one-time lover Dutra, a surgical resident who lives by his own strict codes of love, are brilliantly rendered, as are the other characters. Regina – who narrates the entire book – is not particularly “likeable”, but in her own selfishness and struggle to grasp what it means to love, she comes across as believable. Recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Sun

    Even better the second time around: it's rare to come across a work of American fiction that is this well put together. It isn't perfect. There is dialogue that no human being would ever say. Choi's sharp yet cartoonish portrayal of the Hallett-Brodeurs' Latina nanny borders at times on the dehumanizing. But I love these characters, I love this story and its beautiful little symmetries, and I love Choi's confidently measured prose. - August 3, 2013 Review: "A firm push, on smooth waters. After I'd Even better the second time around: it's rare to come across a work of American fiction that is this well put together. It isn't perfect. There is dialogue that no human being would ever say. Choi's sharp yet cartoonish portrayal of the Hallett-Brodeurs' Latina nanny borders at times on the dehumanizing. But I love these characters, I love this story and its beautiful little symmetries, and I love Choi's confidently measured prose. - August 3, 2013 Review: "A firm push, on smooth waters. After I'd traveled the distance, I saw what he'd done." My Education is being pushed as a tawdry cautionary tale of student-prof obsession, sex, and ruination, when it is really a decades-spanning tale of a love square that just... won't... die, and ultimately a rather grown-up and romantic one at that. The grandiose/pathetic ambitions of the Ivy League Ivory Tower circa 1992 in an unnamed Ithaca (possibly the fifth character in the love pentagon) turn out to be low-hanging fruit in the hands of Choi, who, like fellow Cornell MFA Lorrie Moore, must love intellectual life to skewer it so exactly through the heart. Perhaps doing Moore one better, Choi uses her satirical talents sparingly, in edgy sum-greater-than-the-parts alchemy with evocative descriptions of Ithaca in many seasons, New York proper (although 9/11, once again, is handled too heavily for me), and Northern California, and slow-burning and satisfying portraits of her four principals: Regina, Martha, Nicholas, and Dutra. During the book's deceptively arch opening sections, Regina's precociously prurient voice (and actions) reminded me of Evelyn Waugh's description of idiot savant politician Rex Mottram: "He simply wasn't all there. He wasn't a complete human being at all. He was a tiny bit of one, unnaturally developed; something in a bottle, an organ kept alive in a laboratory. I thought he was a sort of primitive savage, but he was something absolutely modern and up-to-date that only this ghastly age could produce." In Regina's case—and Dutra's, Martha's, and Nicholas's, whom these sentences also describe—it's immaturity creating the deficit, not character. The tension that comes from not really being sure if that's the case or not is the tension of youth, of life (nobody wants to be "an organ kept alive in a laboratory"!), and Choi's complex and authentic recreation of it here four times over is thrilling. Recommended for grown-ups. - PREVIOUSLY: Had the Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant cover of "To Sir With Love" looping in my head while I read the sample. Aw, what the heck. I've never read any of this Pulitzer-nominee's books, and this looks like it might be good validation of my decision never to go for a PhD.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Harlan

    Normally I love the (albeit over-explored) premise of student/teacher affair... it's probably why I picked up this book in the first place. But only a few chapters into the book I was praying it would get better (It didn't, really), and I had to force myself to finish it. Choi's writing is overwrought, in love with the sound of itself, exaggerated and pretentious (I got so sick of references to various obscure writers and philosophers, and Brodeurs' stupid baby carseat, which was always referred Normally I love the (albeit over-explored) premise of student/teacher affair... it's probably why I picked up this book in the first place. But only a few chapters into the book I was praying it would get better (It didn't, really), and I had to force myself to finish it. Choi's writing is overwrought, in love with the sound of itself, exaggerated and pretentious (I got so sick of references to various obscure writers and philosophers, and Brodeurs' stupid baby carseat, which was always referred to as "the Swedish carseat"). The characters weren't very likeable, and I felt like many of them were misrepresented, right from the start. For instance, Regina had heard of the rakish, womanizing, sexual-harassing reputation of Nicholas Brodeur, and for some reason instead of running the other way, she signed up for a class with him to get a little closer. First of all, WHO DOES THIS?! Second, this premise was pretty much abandoned, and when the reader meets Brodeur, there is absolutely no evidence of the sort of sexual magnetism that is hinted about at the beginning of the book. The love scenes were gross and embarrassing (and I'm not typically bothered by an explicit love scene, as long as it's well written), and (spoiler alert) Regina's self-flagellating behavior when she gets dumped made me want to slap her. The second half of the book, which takes place 14 years after the first, doesn't really seem to make sense, as to how the characters ended where they did. And although I found the ending compelling, there was very little portent of it when I thought back to earlier in the book, which made it seem unlikely. I rarely regret having read a book, but I'm a bit sorry I wasted my time and money on this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Guille

    La diferencia entre lo que cada uno de los amantes quiere y se siente capaz de vivir, complicada con un significativo contraste de edades y situaciones, la ceguera de una de las partes al interpretar, o al aceptar, las pistas que va dejando la otra, y lo poco que solemos reflexionar acerca de las consecuencias que nuestros actos y decisiones puedan tener en el destino de otras personas, confluyen en esta historia de un amor como hay muchos igual que les hizo comprender todo el bien, todo el mal, La diferencia entre lo que cada uno de los amantes quiere y se siente capaz de vivir, complicada con un significativo contraste de edades y situaciones, la ceguera de una de las partes al interpretar, o al aceptar, las pistas que va dejando la otra, y lo poco que solemos reflexionar acerca de las consecuencias que nuestros actos y decisiones puedan tener en el destino de otras personas, confluyen en esta historia de un amor como hay muchos igual que les hizo comprender todo el bien, todo el mal, que les dio luz a sus vidas, apagándolas después. Pero hay más que una historia de amor en esta novela. También se mete por medio el mundo universitario, la paternidad y la maternidad, el crecimiento y desarrollo personal, lo complicadas y diversas que pueden ser las relaciones entre personas que se quieren pero que no se aman y entre las que se aman pero no se quieren y, por supuesto, entre las que se quieren y se aman. Nada nuevo (¿es que hay algo que pueda ser realmente nuevo?), pero tratado con inteligencia y cierta originalidad que hace amena una historia de final un tanto previsible tras la sorpresa inicial.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Excessive! I've read her prior books and she's a good author ... but this book is excessive from the word go in both good and bad ways. The prose is rich, complex, and interesting ... but excessively so. The emotional intensity is, surprisingly, sustained during the whole 1992 part of the story, but it is clearly excessive. The sexual scenes are totally excessive. The plot is excessive but hard to put down. On the other hand, the 2007 part of the book is a total failure IMHO. There is no transiti Excessive! I've read her prior books and she's a good author ... but this book is excessive from the word go in both good and bad ways. The prose is rich, complex, and interesting ... but excessively so. The emotional intensity is, surprisingly, sustained during the whole 1992 part of the story, but it is clearly excessive. The sexual scenes are totally excessive. The plot is excessive but hard to put down. On the other hand, the 2007 part of the book is a total failure IMHO. There is no transition for how she goes from a broken woman and a penniless, hopeless alcoholic to a famous NY writer and a very conventional wife and mother. Then a grab bag of additional, unnecessary, and ... yes... excessive ... plot elements are thrown in, helter skelter: East versus West medical approaches and hospital politics, Alicia's sexual abuse as a child, Joachim's ridiculous and annoying blog entries, the Waldorf school values up against technology, the reemergence of Dutra as the heartbroken lover of Martha (please, give me a break), philanthropist extraordinaire, and lonely soul, one more fling with Martha (will Matthew care? Is he a three-dimensional character? No.). She gets great reviews, but I really think this last part failed miserably. What do you all think?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    I think Susan Choi is an excellent writer and I have liked one or two of her other novels, so I was very disappointed in My Education. None of the characters are likable or sympathetic; and the plot, actions, and dialogue seem contrived and unrealistic. Is this book supposed to be 50 Shades of Gray for academics? It was just a little bit too self-involved in the cloistered world of academic self-importance to elicit my general interest. As a graduate student, Regina wanders around in a cold, drun I think Susan Choi is an excellent writer and I have liked one or two of her other novels, so I was very disappointed in My Education. None of the characters are likable or sympathetic; and the plot, actions, and dialogue seem contrived and unrealistic. Is this book supposed to be 50 Shades of Gray for academics? It was just a little bit too self-involved in the cloistered world of academic self-importance to elicit my general interest. As a graduate student, Regina wanders around in a cold, drunken haze, sleeping alternately with her roommate (Dutra), her professor (Nick), or her professor's wife (Martha). Fourteen years later, she miraculously becomes a successful writer with a husband, a child, and a beautiful home in Brooklyn. Frustratingly, the transformation is never explained! Dutra is supposed to be a brilliant, devil-may-care stoner/medical student who is so pure and idealistic that he becomes a lifesaving surgeon in NYC's most prestigious hospital, but is fired on a trumped-up sexual harassment charge over some sort of political intrigue. Once again, this plot twist is never explained. (Note: Dutra also has some sort of short-lived marriage with a woman who is described as being much older than her professed 39 years, but the whirlwind courtship and rapid disintegration of their marriage is once again....never explained!) We are told at the end of the novel that Dutra has always loved Martha but "gave her up" for Regina. Will this game of sexual musical chairs never end? So Regina orchestrates a meet-cute opportunity through a complicated ruse that begins with chatting up Martha's son (Joachim) via his sheepfarming blog (oh, how very 21st century!) and ends with her flying across the country to sleep with Martha before setting Martha up on a quasi-blind-date with Dutra. Choi seems to focus more on emotional fugue states than coherent actions or motivations, making this book somewhat tedious to slog through.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Rock

    This is a great and terrifying novel. I believe it comes out in July, but I got an early copy because Susan’s an old friend of mine. In fact, we had a two-person independent study about our writing when we were college students. And then we hung out all the time when she was a graduate student at Cornell and this novel is loosely based on those years, so it was eerie. More eerie, though, was how amazing Susan’s prose is. No one writes better sentences and keeps them moving, looping, twisting. Wh This is a great and terrifying novel. I believe it comes out in July, but I got an early copy because Susan’s an old friend of mine. In fact, we had a two-person independent study about our writing when we were college students. And then we hung out all the time when she was a graduate student at Cornell and this novel is loosely based on those years, so it was eerie. More eerie, though, was how amazing Susan’s prose is. No one writes better sentences and keeps them moving, looping, twisting. What’s so amazing here is the tension is created not only by what will happen next but the mystery of how the graduate school heroine—prone to bad choices and behavior, often quite immature—is going to become the sophisticated narrator who describes her.

  10. 5 out of 5

    switterbug (Betsey)

    Regina Gottlieb narrates her adult education in a frank, unsentimental style, starting from her first days in graduate school in the early 1990's and ending in middle age--I won't divulge the year, as Choi doesn't either, until she gets there. There are only the two time periods that are magnified; the fill-in years are revealed in retrospect and reference, so that the reader also learns about Regina at a gradual pace. Regina's education here is less academic and more of a sexual and emotional o Regina Gottlieb narrates her adult education in a frank, unsentimental style, starting from her first days in graduate school in the early 1990's and ending in middle age--I won't divulge the year, as Choi doesn't either, until she gets there. There are only the two time periods that are magnified; the fill-in years are revealed in retrospect and reference, so that the reader also learns about Regina at a gradual pace. Regina's education here is less academic and more of a sexual and emotional one. In short, it is a coming-of-age and a look back. This is the kind of languid narrative that takes the long view of a life, and allows for deep reflection of the narrator and asks for concentration from the reader. Events move along at a dilatory pace, starting when Regina is just 21. These few years of her life are primordial, sticky, and really messy, when the superego isn't yet developed, and she acts on her own self-interest. Her entanglements with a married couple of charismatic English professors and their infant son are a time of watery boundaries and shrill desire. Choi balances optimism with cynicism quite well; I was expecting her to do the hip thing which she does do, but she goes further, allows Regina to actually grow and, as she says in middle age: "Middle age only meant that the least reconcilable times of one's life would in fact coexist until death." That will make more sense when you read the long passages of self-analysis. There were times I felt a little restive while reading, wanting the pace to speed up a little. The book is mostly written in a passive voice, recalling, subjecting each moment to scrutiny. But, by the end, you are satisfied, and understand that the navel gazing is what it is--a book of contemplation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    So far, this novel is spectacularly bad. Overwritten, barely sensical in its flow, frivolous. Perhaps it's the Ithaca setting that keeps me reading? I'm not sure.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ayelet Waldman

    This book was terrific, and terrifically sexy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    This book's graphic artsy-comic cover attracted me, but I hated everything inside it, especially the writing. The story is about Regina Gottlieb, the world's most self-obsessed grad student ever, who in 1992 gets involved with her roommate, while stalking the object of her lusty obsession - an infamous professor who becomes first her mentor and employer and then friend and then cuckolded victim of her adultery and then her lover and then back to being her friend again. The reader is given no rea This book's graphic artsy-comic cover attracted me, but I hated everything inside it, especially the writing. The story is about Regina Gottlieb, the world's most self-obsessed grad student ever, who in 1992 gets involved with her roommate, while stalking the object of her lusty obsession - an infamous professor who becomes first her mentor and employer and then friend and then cuckolded victim of her adultery and then her lover and then back to being her friend again. The reader is given no reason to believe that Regina is remarkable in any way, yet somehow everybody in the story is struck by her somehow, bestows immediate trust and respect upon her, never forgets her and never holds any of the terrible, unforgivable things she does to them against her. Choi the writer doesn't say what something is or how it looks, or what any character is thinking; but instead ascribes hidden attributes and contradictory assumptions to everything, within tortuously constructed yet meaningless run-on sentences. To quote her, I found the entire book a "refutation of some logic I couldn't follow". Hated, because annoying inconsistencies. Annoyed, because grammatically complex and faddy. On page 266 she pops out and actually addresses us, "Reader, I grew up" (gak!) and then 24 pages later Regina is still so selfish she flies from NY to CA and has sex with her ex instead of first checking in on her suicidal friend. Somebody who checked this book out before me crossed out superfluous verbage and underlined improper grammar beginning on paragraph 2 of page 1 and on through to page 39; the writing never improved, so I assume the book was returned unread to the library. I never bailed but hated it all the way through, and am left with so many outraged questions: How does one wave an arm "wildly and sadly"? How would a visitor to a home recognize a bathroom was "very tastefully, thoughtlessly" done? Who confuses the smell of sex with that of roasted chicken? What breastfeeding new mother is sneaking around having crazy illicit sex all day every day? Why would a mom carry a diaper bag and a handbag? How is a red wine "greenish"? Cleanly odorous flesh, what? How does the rich dad not have a car seat in his car? If the author's intent was to be as salaciously offensive as possible, then she should feel proud.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mike Cuthbert

    Susan Choi’s new novel is a chronologically unbalanced by philosophically perfect novel of romance and obsession. Regina goes to college to meet one professor, the shaggy, boyishly handsome and up and coming scholar, Nicholas Brodeur. Brodeur is rumored to be a great romancer of women. Regina finds that to be true but Martha Brodeur is another case. Coming without reputation, the casually unkempt Martha is a beauty and it is soon Martha that Regina is in love with. This develops slowly over the Susan Choi’s new novel is a chronologically unbalanced by philosophically perfect novel of romance and obsession. Regina goes to college to meet one professor, the shaggy, boyishly handsome and up and coming scholar, Nicholas Brodeur. Brodeur is rumored to be a great romancer of women. Regina finds that to be true but Martha Brodeur is another case. Coming without reputation, the casually unkempt Martha is a beauty and it is soon Martha that Regina is in love with. This develops slowly over the first few chapters of the novel and is described in agonizing detail by Regina as Martha gives birth to Joachim and welcomes Regina into her life as a lover and a sort of house companion. Meanwhile, the obvious problems in the Brodeur marriage begin to evidence themselves and Regina’s “education” gets more complex by the minute. Most of the book is a detailed account of what Regina learns while at the open end of a liquor bottle as she bonds with various people in her life, including the happy-go-lucky Dutra, with whom she has momentary flings. As the relationship with Martha begins its predictable downward spiral, both Regina and Martha age until gray hairs are popping up all over both at novel’s end. In the meantime, Nicholas moves on to an even younger version of Martha, Martha meets a virtual nonentity named Matthew and old friends’ are wrapped up as the novel quickens its pace and decreases its depth. At one, this is a novel of education in the sense of getting to know what Regina has discovered about life, in another dimension, it is a story of maturation and what happens to dreams as we age. It is a sad story because we none of use like to see passion die as it does for all but the severely deluded or hopelessly immature. On the other hand, it’s a warning tale about the challenges of expecting life to work out like romance does. If it is best to learn by doing, Regina learns those lessons well. But an education can also come from consideration of choices and their outcomes and there Regina has challenges she can’t overcome. A sobering novel but enjoyable reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    This was a tiresome read for me. I appreciate Choi's ability to craft a complex and meaningful sentence, but I grew weary of the long, winding prose. I found some of the dialogue so unauthentic and pretentious that it made me laugh. The sex scenes were cringe worthy. Most tiresome were the selfish, self-absorbed, whiney characters. I noticed other reviewers remarked on the growth Regina demonstrated in the final third of the novel. It seems the opposite to me. Regina's last few interactions reve This was a tiresome read for me. I appreciate Choi's ability to craft a complex and meaningful sentence, but I grew weary of the long, winding prose. I found some of the dialogue so unauthentic and pretentious that it made me laugh. The sex scenes were cringe worthy. Most tiresome were the selfish, self-absorbed, whiney characters. I noticed other reviewers remarked on the growth Regina demonstrated in the final third of the novel. It seems the opposite to me. Regina's last few interactions reveal little growth; they instead reveal how little she regards the ones she left at home. Another reviewer labeled this book excessive and I agree. I would also add pretentious to that label.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Regina Gottlieb is a 21 year old college graduate who knows EVERYTHING! She is just starting her graduate degree program, and has been listening to the gossip about a professor, Nicholas Brodeur. Brodeur has a reputation for being sexist, which somehow makes him so irresistibly sexy that Regina signs up for his class even though she is totally unprepared for it. Regina manages to catch Brodeur's attention, lands a job as his TA, and that's when things get a little out of hand. I know what you're Regina Gottlieb is a 21 year old college graduate who knows EVERYTHING! She is just starting her graduate degree program, and has been listening to the gossip about a professor, Nicholas Brodeur. Brodeur has a reputation for being sexist, which somehow makes him so irresistibly sexy that Regina signs up for his class even though she is totally unprepared for it. Regina manages to catch Brodeur's attention, lands a job as his TA, and that's when things get a little out of hand. I know what you're thinking and you're wrong. My Education by Susan Choi is the story of Regina, and her self righteous quest for love. As a 21 year old, she thinks that she understands life's complications and all of the choices that are available for responsible adults, like herself. Unfortunately, the professor who she seduces is much older, and is at an entirely different place in life. Regina can't, and really doesn't even try, to understand the differences between grad school responsibilities and real life. Choi is exploring a difficult issue through her characters. Are you who you were when you were 21? Should you be? If you could go back, would you and should you? Is there actually a way back? Is young love, with its intense focus a truer love, or just a love that can only happen when one doesn't have much else to do? At one point, Regina describes the dilemma, by saying that she feels grief not for a lost lover, "but for all my lost selves, which I liked to imagine were still somehow there, waiting for my return." As mentioned in David Ulin's LA Times review of My Education, the book is divided into two parts: the 1995 young Regina in love, and the 2007 Regina who is wondering if she is in love or not. The two sections read completely differently, and I preferred the later section. In the first part, the focus on the affair is intense, like a story of young love should be. The 2007 section is hectic and fast paced, with stories of how and why the 1995 characters grew and, yes, changed. My Education has echos of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen in the complicated love triangles. The 9/11 scenes could have been cut from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, for being too brutal. Foer's readers in 2005 were probably not ready for the honest story Choi's characters can retell 8 years later. The love scenes were just slightly less explicit than those in Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, but the point of Choi's story wasn't the shock, but the differences between the lovers. One could not wait to be older and wanted to play house, while the other only wanted to be 21 again, and able to run away. If I could have given it 4 1/2 stars, I would have. To read more of this review, please click here: http://sonotarunner.blogspot.com/2013...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    It's true the writing here often sings, though in a simile heavy style like this, there are inevitably some clunkers that come off more as parodies than functional similes, and way too many places where the reader thinks, "Does this tiny bit of behavior really need a simile for us to understand it?" But Choi can write and I've liked both of her earlier books. But this one, and how do I put it gently...no way, I guess, it's just achingly dull. It's minutely observed all right to the point of stup It's true the writing here often sings, though in a simile heavy style like this, there are inevitably some clunkers that come off more as parodies than functional similes, and way too many places where the reader thinks, "Does this tiny bit of behavior really need a simile for us to understand it?" But Choi can write and I've liked both of her earlier books. But this one, and how do I put it gently...no way, I guess, it's just achingly dull. It's minutely observed all right to the point of stupefaction. Maybe what is the least interesting thing about the book is that Choi seems to believe her basic material -- fresh, deeply annoying young student gets involved in a sexual affair with the wife of her professor -- is on its own fascinating but what it actually is is tired and hackneyed. Choi seems to think she's being cutting edge by describing in some detail what seems like fantastic lesbian sex (don't get me wrong, these passages are dull, but they're not ineffective if the purpose is to make you believe that this young girl is having the erotic experience of a lifetime), but really what she's doing is trafficking in hyperbole to a sometimes laughable degree to get her basic point across that the girl is having a good time (she's getting, yes, yes, an "education.") The question of the central woman's character is an interesting one. On many levels, she's not just annoying but unlikeable and usually when she opens her mouth, the reader has the urge to smack her, so hysterical and self-righteous and self involved are her pronouncements and in those moments, it becomes difficult to believe that she'd have any friends, much less the cadre of people who seem to have affection for her (in fairness, she ends up fucking three quarters of the people who seem to like her). Yet Choi clearly intends this and since this is first person narration, her narration isn't nearly as annoying and she seems if not likeable at least tolerable. So the question becomes, what responsibility does a novelist have to make her main character appealing? None at all is the only answer and "I hated the main character" is the easiest and most surface of critiques, but still, that doesn't make spending an entire novel with this creature any more pleasant.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Megan Gargiulo

    This is a minor detail that illustrates my larger irritation with this book as a whole. Did anyone else notice that Lucia, the nanny, was supposedly Brazilian but spoke Spanish (she exclaims Dios mío and is later described as pronouncing Joachim "the Spanish way;" hilariously, the actual correct pronunciation of Joachim in Portuguese is described as "the pretentious English way"). It is unfathomable and insulting to me that someone who attended two Ivy League schools (Choi) does not know that th This is a minor detail that illustrates my larger irritation with this book as a whole. Did anyone else notice that Lucia, the nanny, was supposedly Brazilian but spoke Spanish (she exclaims Dios mío and is later described as pronouncing Joachim "the Spanish way;" hilariously, the actual correct pronunciation of Joachim in Portuguese is described as "the pretentious English way"). It is unfathomable and insulting to me that someone who attended two Ivy League schools (Choi) does not know that the language spoken in Brazil is Portuguese, and not Spanish. Gahh. Apart from that, as many commenters have pointed out, the prose was pretentious and burdensome to get through. I felt like Choi was trying so hard to make flashy new metaphors and unexpected descriptions that her writing just didn't make sense and was a chore to try and push through. Finally, as a PhD student myself, I deeply resented Regina, who was the least plausible graduate student ever. She lands a TAship...just because? And she then drops out of graduate school, moves to a new apartment, and supports her alcoholism on freelance newspaper articles??? Nope. No. Also, just because you are an academic doesn't mean you talk like a smarmy asshole all the time, as do all the characters in this book. Couldn't at least one of the characters utter plausible phrases? Evidently not.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    Just when it seems that there’s no room in the class for another novel about college life, a new hand goes up. I won’t run through the whole roster because you already know the upperclassmen — from Richard Russo’s “Straight Man” to Jane Smiley’s “Moo.” Only two years ago, Jeffrey Eugenides brought the form to new heights with “The Marriage Plot,” a brilliant novel about an English major infected by the plots of 19th-century classics. Kingsley Amis’s “Lucky Jim,” of course, still lords it over th Just when it seems that there’s no room in the class for another novel about college life, a new hand goes up. I won’t run through the whole roster because you already know the upperclassmen — from Richard Russo’s “Straight Man” to Jane Smiley’s “Moo.” Only two years ago, Jeffrey Eugenides brought the form to new heights with “The Marriage Plot,” a brilliant novel about an English major infected by the plots of 19th-century classics. Kingsley Amis’s “Lucky Jim,” of course, still lords it over them all. So it takes some nerve to stride into this tweedy group and perform under the anxiety of their influence. What new footnote could be added to David Lodge’s satires of postmodern theory? How many class titles like “Fetishes and Freaks: Strategies of Queering the Gothic” can we giggle over? Who could possibly trace another erotic tension or envious impulse through the groves of academe? Answer: Susan Choi. She’s never sounded smarter or wittier than she does in her fourth novel, “My Education.” Once again, we’re on a college campus with pompous professors. Once again, we meet an English major donning the mantle of adulthood, thirsty for “new esoterica.” But by the force of her stylistic virtuosity and psychological precision, Choi gives this worn setup all the nubile energy of a new school year. The narrator is a 21-year-old student named Regina Gottlieb. “Graduate school was my Eden,” she tells us in a hilarious parody of self-righteous feminism and political correctness. Widely unread, she’s nevertheless mastered a pose of “enchanted absorption” that professors drink up. Totally out of her depth, “at that age I still believed in the malleability of personality, and could imagine myself more competent in fields about which I knew nothing.” Choi’s great triumph here is her ability to create a voice that enacts Regina’s cluelessness while simultaneously critiquing her. She’s the embodiment of that uniquely modern educational disaster: the brilliant student who knows nothing. But of course she knows what she wants, and what she wants is Professor Nicholas Brodeur, at “almost forty” the English department’s star scholar and infamous sexual harasser. “He was the best-looking man I had seen in the flesh to that point in my life,” Regina says, and that he’s also the subject of petitions, complaints and protests makes him all the more irresistible. “He was said to recite bawdy couplets referring to breasts while directing his gaze in the classroom at actual breasts,” she whispers with aroused opprobrium. She wiggles herself into his seminar and then into his office, where everything that went wrong in David Mamet’s “Oleanna” goes charmingly right. Soon, she’s working as his TA (no pun intended) and attending a boozy end-of-term party at his house. But at the moment of a consummation devoutly to be wished, Regina makes a play for the professor’s wife, and the novel takes a strange detour. “Like any inexperienced fool, I believed that one need only follow the heart,” Regina says, in an acknowledgment of the havoc she sparks. There’s something dangerous about her insatiable affection, her unshakable belief that any barrier must fall before the force of her love. Although Regina is recalling this experience from many years later, these events come to us in all their sticky immediacy. “We could not stop avidly stroking each other,” she says, “as if we were a pair of Helen Kellers who had just linked the name with the flesh.” Admittedly, I don’t get out much, but the lesbian sex scenes of “My Education” should push it toward the erotic end of the bookshelf. Choi tries — and largely succeeds — to convey the overwhelming sensation of Regina’s first experience with “lovemaking’s arduous toil.” Sometimes, that’s thrilling. Sometimes, it involves effusing lines that might catch the attention of the judges for the Bad Sex Award, e.g. “Often my flesh went so dry we would squeak like a rubber shoe-sole on linoleum tile.” The bulk of the novel sails across the stormy waters of Regina’s relationship with her professor’s wife. The impossible highs of youthful passion, the inevitable despair of asymmetrical devotion, and especially the withering bickering between two lovers of such wildly different levels of maturity — it’s all here in engorged Technicolor. What makes this so delicious, though, is Choi’s relentless style, the unflagging force of her scrutiny. She spins Regina’s voice into a breathless parody of Jamesean analysis — portrait of a lady as a young sex toy. Honestly, few other writers alive today make their sentences work so hard. Try skimming these paragraphs too fast and you’ll cut yourself on the sharpened edges of her prose. But then, alas. . . . Although endings are the literary appendages that book critics must handle with special care, I’ve got to say that I found the 80-page coda of “My Education” distractingly poor. Set in 2007, when Regina is a best-selling chick-lit author, this conclusion wastes the focused energy that the body of the novel generates. It thrusts a side character awkwardly into the center of the plot and introduces new characters whom we can’t care about. Worse, this novella-length section revolves around a series of quickly developed, even zany events that lack the necessary combination of wit and plausibility. Choi obviously wants this latter section to be a reflection on Regina’s educational affair — and it does offer some wisdom about the differences between billowy passion and mature love. But its retrospection seems scattered and depth-resistant. It’s worth noting that Gail Godwin’s recent novel “Flora” handles the task of reappraising a youthful passion with just a few powerful concluding pages. There must be 50 ways to leave your lover, but sometimes relationships — and novels — drag on too long for their own good.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah Gordon

    I'm really surprised by how much I liked this book by the end. It should have been insufferable, and was definitely a bummer, but somehow I didn't want it to be over.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Originally posted on Shelf Addiction! Check this and more of my reviews at Shelf Addiction First and foremost, because I review both Adult and YA, I wanted make very clear this is an 18+ book. Seriously. No minors aloud. If you're under 18, just stop right now...don't even read this review. This story is full of seriously screwed up people. This themes include obsession, lust, love and loss. I'm going to try my best to keep this cohesive without giving away too much of the story. This book is a cl Originally posted on Shelf Addiction! Check this and more of my reviews at Shelf Addiction First and foremost, because I review both Adult and YA, I wanted make very clear this is an 18+ book. Seriously. No minors aloud. If you're under 18, just stop right now...don't even read this review. This story is full of seriously screwed up people. This themes include obsession, lust, love and loss. I'm going to try my best to keep this cohesive without giving away too much of the story. This book is a classic example of how book smarts doesn't equal street smarts. It's almost ironic how ridiculous and thoughtless these characters are socially, yet they are all brilliant academically. Our main character and voice of the book is Regina. She's a grad student and she becomes slightly infatuated with a professor at her university, Nicholas. But when she meets Nicholas's wife, Martha, all bets are off and she falls madly for Martha with an alarming quickness and in a borderline obsessive way. Regina, aka Ginny, Nicolas, Marsha, and her roommate Dutra, all have major issues. Not in the drug dealer kind of way, but in the low self esteem, love starved, screw anything that walks sort of way. Regina and Marsha's story is high drama, severely twisted and really sad. I had a hard time identifying exactly when Regina fell so hard for Marsha. It was like one day Regina saw Marsha out by a coffee cart, the next she's making out with her at a dinner party, then the next think you know she's in love. It all happened at lightning quick speed. Marsha is unhappy in her marriage, Regina is looking for love. Just a bad combination. I could probably go on and on about the dynamic of those two. They both need therapy! Beyond that, the issue of sexuality in this novel was fascinating. Both women appear to be bisexual, which is something I've never read before. Not that it's negative, just different. The characters were very interesting and they all had many layers. One could dissect the personalities of characters for hours. While interesting to read about, I didn't connect with any of them. I couldn't relate to anything that was going on. I feel sad for them, especially Regina. This book is titled "My Education", but I don't see where Regina or anyone else actually learned anything in this entire book. The ending was a bit odd. I'm not sure I understand how it all came together. I don't want to spoil the plot for you, so I have to be a bit vague. But it's really weird that after all the ups and downs, after escaping the craziness and having a new life, Regina chooses to fall right back into it. She decides hook up two people that never even really had any type of relationship. Just the fact that one party loved the other in the same sort of crazy way that Regina loved Marsha. Of course, Regina has to make it even more twisted by sleeping with one of them right before she hooks them up for old times sake! Again, it's all nuts! Have you ever read the Marriage Plot? Did you like it? If so, then you'll enjoy Choi's writing style. Choi's writing seems a bit reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides. In the way that it reads sort of high brow with a grad school English academia vibe and at times almost overly descriptive. I would recommend this book to those who are looking to change things up and try something new. I also recommend it for literary fiction fans.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Susan Choi's new novel will be known as that steamy book about an affair between two women. Steamy it is, but that is only a part of its allure. The sex writing is extremely good but that is because Susan Choi can write as well as, if not better than, anyone writing novels today. This book is a campus novel, a love story, a domestic tale, and features male characters who are as deeply complex as the two main female characters. I am trying to sound like a calm and composed reviewer but the truth i Susan Choi's new novel will be known as that steamy book about an affair between two women. Steamy it is, but that is only a part of its allure. The sex writing is extremely good but that is because Susan Choi can write as well as, if not better than, anyone writing novels today. This book is a campus novel, a love story, a domestic tale, and features male characters who are as deeply complex as the two main female characters. I am trying to sound like a calm and composed reviewer but the truth is I loved this book with as much youthful and ill-advised passion as 20-year-old Regina loved 32-year-old Martha. Who did not confuse lust with love at that age? Who did not love extravagantly and hopelessly from a position of self-involvement and narcissism? Who at the age of 20 could ever understand that the object of her affection just might have a couple other things going on in his/her life beside oneself? And who did not grieve as self-destructively as possible for a ridiculous amount of time, but in the end, live to love again? Oh, you never did? I pity you. Regina is a grad student in literature. Martha is a literature professor, as is her husband. Martha is also a cyclonic force of a person, a free spirit, and about as self-involved as a wife/mother/professional woman can be. The affair between them, beginning on the night of a disastrous dinner party Martha fails to pull off, goes on for much of the book. The collapse of Martha's marriage, the child custody battles, and finally the end of the affair are all seen through Regina's eyes. And that is perfect because in the latter part of the book, when Regina has grown up, become a wife and mother and author herself, the reader gets to see Regina looking back from an older and wiser perspective. I loved that part also because the more mature Regina is still who she was: a passionate, loyal, one hundred percent type of woman. A word about Susan Choi's sentences: amazing. But that is such an overused word. On any given page you can find at least a couple examples of these creations that reel out with thought, emotion, description, time shifts, and yet you never get lost, the rhythm never falters, and she gives you the complete picture. Oddly, as I attempted to pick a few examples, I realized that they all fit so seamlessly into the story, each one moving it along, that by themselves they are just long sentences. Either you will have to take my word for it or read the book yourself. Any writer, well except maybe Hemingway, would be fascinated to the point of wanting a course in Susan Choi's sentences complete with writing exercises. I think I will just make up my own. Ms Choi will be visiting my city during her book tour. I will be there in the audience to see if I can ascertain how she can have written the excellent A Person of Interest and then have turned around to take a love story into such exciting territory.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    Since I read this during a beach vacation, I am a bit more forgiving than I would be at another time. The story of a laissez faire grad student (a post modernist, who hasn't read anything written before 1990, it seems), who seems to have enough funding to not work too hard (even after she quits grad school) falls in love with her professor's wife. What follows are several erotically charged, detailed chapters of their love making, along with the 21 year olds perceptions about their relationship. Since I read this during a beach vacation, I am a bit more forgiving than I would be at another time. The story of a laissez faire grad student (a post modernist, who hasn't read anything written before 1990, it seems), who seems to have enough funding to not work too hard (even after she quits grad school) falls in love with her professor's wife. What follows are several erotically charged, detailed chapters of their love making, along with the 21 year olds perceptions about their relationship. She is so believably self absorbed, that anyone over 21 may be amused by her for a while. Otherwise, her "awakening" occurs slowly and is forced by the adults who need to push her hundreds of miles away to get her to "awake" to reality. Her reality, 12 years later, seems grim to me (a marriage with a man she likes more than loves, and a baby she is obsessed with), yet she overcomes her selfishness by..... Well, I don't want to give it away. It's such a terrible ending for a book that didn't give enough information to naturally lead up to it. As someone else already wrote, it felt like several chapters were missing in the novel for that ending to make any sense. I like Choi's writing, and for a vacation read it was often riveting. But the simplistic portrayal of graduate school and academia, and the ridiculousness of having ALL of the characters become rich enough so that they didn't have to actually worry about work or food or rent: if the novel was subtitled "A Fantasy" then I'd be able to excuse it (like Mary Gordon's middle aged romance, "Spending" was) but as realistic fiction, the light dismissal of the reality of work doesn't work. Read it at the beach. Read it as a fantasy. Sort of.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Regina Gottlieb is no stranger to the rumors about one of her professors, Nicholas Brodeur. Rumors that talk about Nicholas giving himself a hand job to the reading of couplets by his female students or that Nicholas laughed so hard he fell off his chair in the movie theater watching a film about rapist, Roman Polanski. None of these rumors deter Regina from Nicholas. Not even his pregnant wife. If anything it just makes Regina more interested in him. Things get crazy when Regina gets close to N Regina Gottlieb is no stranger to the rumors about one of her professors, Nicholas Brodeur. Rumors that talk about Nicholas giving himself a hand job to the reading of couplets by his female students or that Nicholas laughed so hard he fell off his chair in the movie theater watching a film about rapist, Roman Polanski. None of these rumors deter Regina from Nicholas. Not even his pregnant wife. If anything it just makes Regina more interested in him. Things get crazy when Regina gets close to Nicholas and his wife. Regina’s actions and the education she receives in life and the bedroom will make her the person she turns out to be in fifteen years. I wanted to check this book out because it sounded outside of my norm and I like expanding my reading genre. Plus I was not offended by the fact that this book might falter on a heavy/dark reading material and some deep sexual experiences. If these two things are not your cup of tea than you should not check this book out. Ok, so I really, really wanted to like this book more then I did. It looks like lots of people enjoyed this book. Unfortunately, this book did not do it for me. There were a lot of descriptive details in the beginning that I really struggled to see past. So the book was a slow read for me. After a while I had to put the book down and throw in the towel. I do however appreciate the raw, stripped down look that the author gave to Regina, even if I did not care for Regina.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mjl

    Ostensibly a tale of the powerful infatuation of a young woman for her college professor and the passion, obsession and ultimately decades long fallout which ensues. There is a major unexpected twist early on in the book, annoyingly, as being written in the first person you expect to understand and predict the protagonist's mind and subsequent dramatic actions. Coming from left-field as it did, I hadn't built up any empathy or affection for the relationship and was disconnected from this stage o Ostensibly a tale of the powerful infatuation of a young woman for her college professor and the passion, obsession and ultimately decades long fallout which ensues. There is a major unexpected twist early on in the book, annoyingly, as being written in the first person you expect to understand and predict the protagonist's mind and subsequent dramatic actions. Coming from left-field as it did, I hadn't built up any empathy or affection for the relationship and was disconnected from this stage of the book. This was admirably corrected by a cast of rich, warm, damaged, vibrant characters who between them make up the rest of her life and the beautiful excitement of her early days and the rewarding nostalgia of her later years. The writing was heavy and laced with frequent metaphors sometimes so far removed from the narrative that they interrupted the flow and occasionally confused the descriptions further. However, it was also gloriously and unashamedly lush, strokes which painted an impressionist's vision of events rather than the lacklustre precision of photographic prose. A little frustrating in places but a worthwhile read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thien-Kim

    My Education by Susan Choi was such an intense and passionate read that I was hesitant to put the book down in order to feed myself and get some sleep. Regina, our narrator, starts her first year of graduate school feeling very adult. After all, she’s no longer an undergrad. An English major, Regina is forewarned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur’s predilection for young coeds, but is drawn to his charisma the first time she sees him. So much that she signs up for an advanced English class that is My Education by Susan Choi was such an intense and passionate read that I was hesitant to put the book down in order to feed myself and get some sleep. Regina, our narrator, starts her first year of graduate school feeling very adult. After all, she’s no longer an undergrad. An English major, Regina is forewarned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur’s predilection for young coeds, but is drawn to his charisma the first time she sees him. So much that she signs up for an advanced English class that isn’t in her concentration of study. Soon, she is drawn into the intricate web of Professor Brodeur’s life and his family. Regina is so entrenched in her belief that she is an “adult” that she cannot see how entangled she becomes into Brodeur’s family. My Education is the first book I’ve read by Choi so I had no idea what to expect. Choi is an accomplished writer who has garnered many awards for her previous works, including being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Clearly my expectations were high. Choi did not disappoint me. Read the rest on my blog: http://www.fromlefttowrite.com/book-r...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I started this book thinking it would be a favorite of mine. I really loved Choi's writing style. But, oh man, this book ended up being insanely boring. I liked how the main character, Regina, would explain how she viewed those she was attracted to, but then once she was able to "obtain" these people it just got long. And I got annoyed at having to read about her alcohol induced vomiting over and over. I did like Choi's long, drawn out sentences. I felt like I could picture the settings so vividl I started this book thinking it would be a favorite of mine. I really loved Choi's writing style. But, oh man, this book ended up being insanely boring. I liked how the main character, Regina, would explain how she viewed those she was attracted to, but then once she was able to "obtain" these people it just got long. And I got annoyed at having to read about her alcohol induced vomiting over and over. I did like Choi's long, drawn out sentences. I felt like I could picture the settings so vividly and tangibly feel the mood of any scene. I was a sucker for her pretentious-feeling, ridiculous-sounding sentences: "Had I been a doll, she might have twisted off each of my limbs, and sucked the knobs until they glistened, and drilled her tongue into each of the holes." - pg 77 *snort giggle*

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I'm not generally good at suspending my disbelief and this book went way beyond my limits. The characters get money thrown at them, as a result of their brilliance, when they're not even trying, when their parents die. They are SO insightful, and can fill each other in on, well, each other and themselves after years and decades apart. They become alcoholic and then cease to be alcoholic without benefit of any kind of recovery. There is not an overweight one among them. And they live happily ever I'm not generally good at suspending my disbelief and this book went way beyond my limits. The characters get money thrown at them, as a result of their brilliance, when they're not even trying, when their parents die. They are SO insightful, and can fill each other in on, well, each other and themselves after years and decades apart. They become alcoholic and then cease to be alcoholic without benefit of any kind of recovery. There is not an overweight one among them. And they live happily ever after. Yuck.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sam Fletcher

    Tiring in its pretentious and lofty language until the final 50 pages or so. Choi's protagonist is inauthentic and contrived, disregarding important details of her costars' integrity in favor of a romanticized trounce through queer experience. I found myself disappointed and offended at the way Choi's leading lady painted a minimized version of queer relationships; this is why I don't typically chance books from the new fiction rack. Partial redemption in the end - at least the brat grows up a b Tiring in its pretentious and lofty language until the final 50 pages or so. Choi's protagonist is inauthentic and contrived, disregarding important details of her costars' integrity in favor of a romanticized trounce through queer experience. I found myself disappointed and offended at the way Choi's leading lady painted a minimized version of queer relationships; this is why I don't typically chance books from the new fiction rack. Partial redemption in the end - at least the brat grows up a bit.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megnificentfig

    Essentially a harlequin romance dressed up in an MFA-writing style. Meh.

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