Uncommon Education, An: A Novel

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9780062110978: Uncommon Education, An: A Novel

For fans of Prep, Dead Poets Society, and Special Topics in Calamity Physics comes an elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut, in which a young woman’s serendipitous discovery of her college’s underground Shakespeare Society leads to an unforgettable series of transformations. When Naomi finds herself among “the Shakes” at Wellesley, she finally lets herself embrace the passionate inner self she’s always kept locked away. But when a sudden scandal unfolds, she will be forced to learn the limits of the relationships that have sustained her. An intimate and enthralling narrative, Elizabeth Percer’s debut novel An Uncommon Education marks the emergence of a stunning new literary talent.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2012: A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee for her stories, Elizabeth Percer brings the clarity and sophistication of the short form into her affecting debut novel about a young woman with lessons to learn. When we meet Naomi Feinstein in childhood, she has clumsy if loving parents, an eccentric best friend, and few social graces. Her photographic memory and intense ambition help Naomi chart a path to her dream school, but the relationships she builds there turn out to have far more resonance than the education she imagined. On a campus full of women with strengths and foibles as complicated as her own, she learns when to trust (and distrust) her instincts about both academia and other human beings. Percer’s gift lies in making Naomi--and her family, friends, and lovers--utterly, absorbingly real. An Uncommon Education feels like the kind of all-night conversation that breaks your heart when it ends. --Mia Lipman

From the Back Cover:

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 Naomi immerses herself in this exciting and liberating world, her happiness 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 compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations. Poignant and wise, it artfully captures the complicated ties of family, the bittersweet inevitability of loss, and the importance of learning to let go.

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