An Education

by

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Author: Lynn Barber

Title: An Education

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  192

Geographical Setting: London, England; Oxford, England,

Time Period: 1940 – present

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: This novel is a charming, funny, and candid memoir from award winning English journalist Lynn Barber, known for her role in the start-up of Penthouse Magazine and as a scathing interviewer with the nickname Demon Barber.  Originally written as short piece for literary magazine Granta, after garnering much interest, including movie producers, Barber expanded the story to encompass her childhood up to the death of her husband.  The memoir is roughly divided into 6 sections: an introduction about the history of the novel including its prior incarnation and the movie, her childhood and background, her May-December relationship, her experiences at college and meeting her husband, her work as a writer and journalist, and the death of her husband.  Barber gives an incredibly detailed and anecdotal sketch of her life which is touching, funny, and incredibly sad.  As stated in the first section of the memoir, the movie, of the same name, is based on the second chapter and was adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby.

Subject Headings:  Biography; Memoir; Coming of age; Family, Relationships, Journalism, Pornography, Feminism, Gender Roles, Parent-Child Relationship, Marriage, May-December Relationship, Death,

Appeal:  easy, leisurely-paced, stately, contemplative, humorous, introspective, unaffected, engaging, charming, details of journalism, direct, informative,

3 terms that best describe this book: graceful, witty, candid

Similar Authors and Works:

Nonfiction

Talking Back: to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels by Andrea Mitchell – A candid and revealing memoir from Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affair Correspondent for NBC over the entirety of her career as a journalist, with special interest paid to the role of her gender and personal relationships.

History of Men’s Magazines: 1960’s at the Newsstand vol. 3 by Dian Hanson – An annotated and illustrated history of men’s magazines in America and the rest of the world during the 1960s, including the start-up of Penthouse Magazine in England.

Younger Women Older Men by Beliza Ann Furman – A practical and straightforward book, written by a female, about the relationship dynamics between older men and younger women, including dealing with power and control issues.

Fiction

Shopgirl by Steve Martin – The story of a lonely shopgirl at Neiman Marcus in LA and her romantic relationship with a man twice her age.  A humorous and introspective novel written with delicacy and charm.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin – The fictional story based on historically accurate facts about Alice Liddel, the child who inspired Alice In Wonderland.  The novel is Alice reflecting on her life including Lewis Carroll’s seemingly inappropriate obsession with 10 year old Alice.  An engaging novel, rich in detail and frame.

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy – The fictional and yet semi-autobiographical story of a young American woman and recent college graduate who moves to Paris in pursuit of excitement and adventure in the late 1950s.  A very funny, charming, and clever novel containing a tremendous amount of historic and geographic frame.

Name:  Summer

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