I’ve been lucky recently and won a few goodreads.com giveaways recently. This review of An Education by Lynn Barber is another such book. As is the case with Lay the Favorite, I would not have read this book had I not won it on goodreads.
Lynn Barber’s true story is now a major film of the same name scripted by Nick Hornby. At 16, Lynn Barber was an ambitious schoolgirl working towards a place at Oxford, when she was picked up at a bus-stop by an attractive older man in a sports car. So began a relationship that almost wrecked her life. Barber’s fascinating memoir takes us beyond this bizarre episode, revealing how it left her with an abiding mistrust of men which paradoxically led her to a promiscuous life-style at university until she met her husband-to-be. “An Education” tells how she went on to work for seven years at daring (for the times) men’s magazine “Penthouse’ before beginning her starry days as the Demon Barber – Britain’s most entertaining and most feared interviewer. The book ends with an extraordinarily moving account of the early death of her husband. Her writing is refreshingly frank and funny.
I first became aware of An Education during the last Academy Awards ceremony. I found the clips and description of the movie very interesting, and made a mental note to watch the movie someday. I didn’t think of the movie again until noticing a book titled An Education listed as a goodreads.com giveaway. After a bit of research, I found that the movie had been based on this book Remembering that the movie had caught my attention, I checked out the book’s description. The description and my previous interest in the movie after the Oscars led me to sign up for the giveaway.
While I don’t usually discuss the book covers in my blogs, the publishers did such a great job designing the cover for this book that I can’t help but mention it. I felt as if this cover was a good representation of the book. The publishing company could have gone with a glossy cover with a photo-shopped model, but they didn’t. While this that kind of cover may have had more “shelf-appeal,” it would not have matched the story that’s being told. The simple cover featuring a younger image of the author was quite fitting. In my opinion this cover represented the story about Barber’s life very well.
At first I was unable to get into this book. The first chapter was necessary to give me background information on the author’s life, but it felt a bit slow. I did find myself getting more interested as I read., and I soon was unable to put the book down. Barber lead an interesting life and it translates into a engaging book.
I did feel a bit of a handicap as a US reader as opposed to someone from Barber’s native country. Some things like the discussion of England’s school system were confusing to me. The mention of certain prominent figures in the United Kingdom were lost on me as well since I did not know who they were. As a result, I felt that I was unable to grasp the importance of her interaction with these people. While this did take away my ability to relate to the character in some parts, it did not have much of an impact on my overall enjoyment or the story.
Review: I found this book interesting and engaging. It was a quick read that entertained me for an afternoon. I especially appreciated the way the author described her feelings and relationships with her family, and showed how those feelings educated her in her life.