Synopses & Reviews
A young woman tries to save three people she loves in this elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut.
Afraid of losing her parents at a young age—her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed mother—Naomi Feinstein prepared single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. An outcast at school, Naomi loses herself in books, and daydreams of Wellesley College. But when Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it's the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.
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. Naomi finally begins to detach from the past and so much of what defines her, immersing herself in this exciting and liberating new world and learning the value of friendship. But her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings irrevocable consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of growing up is learning that 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.
"Poet Percer's fiction debut is an intimate portrait of an intelligent, tender girl with a deep wish to protect those she loves. With a depressed mother and an ailing father, Naomi Feinstein found comfort and peace in her only friend: Teddy. But when he disappears from her life when she is 15-years-old, Naomi is devastated. To distract herself from the loss, Naomi dives into her studies, desperate to get into Wellesley College and become a cardiac surgeon, a dream she's had since age eight when she witnessed her adored father suffer a near-fatal heart attack. Naomi is finally accepted at Wellesley, and she arrives with the hopes of finally having a social life, but finds herself awash in loneliness. When she rescues a fellow student from a freezing lake, the heroic act opens the doors to the clandestine Shakespeare Society, an exclusive all-women group with a passion for Shakespeare and secret rituals. It is within 'Shakes' that Feinstein begins to let go of her past and form new friendships. But with these new relationships, Naomi finds herself entangled in a scandal, just as her understanding of her past comes crashing down around her. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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 womans serendipitous discovery of her colleges 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 shes 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 Percers debut novel An Uncommon Education marks the emergence of a stunning new literary talent.
About the Author
Elizabeth Percer is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and has twice been honored by the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation. She received a BA in English from Wellesley and a PhD in arts education from Stanford University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship for the National Writing Project at UC Berkeley. She lives in California with her husband and three children. An Uncommon Education is her first novel.