Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Education

An Education by Lynn Barber
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Lynn Barber's memoir An Education is an extension of an article Barber wrote for Granta magazine, which was the basis for the Nick Hornby-penned movie of the same name starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Skargaard. Mulligan was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as a teenager wooed by an older (married) man. Last year I watched the movie in the theater, so I decided to pick up the book to read.

Reading this memoir you see how Lynn's parents were complicit in her having a relationship with an older man, Simon. I think that the movie showed Lynn's parents as being a bit more hesitant about the relationship, so I was surprised to read how, after grooming Lynn for years to attend Oxford University, they no longer saw the point in her attending university if she was engaged to be married. The reactions of her parents greatly affected Lynn, as she felt she could no longer trust what they said, or anything they told her throughout her childhood. Barber recounts how while at Oxford and majoring in English Literature she never went to lectures and lost interest in book work and instead "studied" the opposite sex.

An especially engaging part of An Education is Barber's recollections of her experience in the publishing world, working at publications including Penthouse, Independent on Sunday, and the Observer. Barber also talks about her husband David's battle with myelofibrosis.

Barber's writing style is quite conversational and I definitely recommend this to readers looking for a quick read.