An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer is a beautiful coming of age story. Naomi Feinstein is a young woman who decided early in life that she was going to dedicate her life to becoming a doctor, primarily to save her parents from dying young. Although she was never a girl with many friends, she thought college would be the time for her and everything would change. Does it? Well, sort of…
“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.” – An Uncommon Education
An Uncommon Education is the type of book about a social outcast that I enjoy reading. Naomi’s struggle to find herself is heartbreaking at times, and I really want to just give her a big hug and tips on making friends like a big sister. She thinks (like so many of us) that once she does something or is accepted into something, that everything will change. Often it doesn’t, and the problems we had are still there. This is what happens to her as well.
Naomi’s chance heroic braveness saving the girl who fell into the lake does change her life forever, and finally begins to open her up to the world around her so she can finally find herself.
This is a truly great book by an author I definitely want to read more of in the future. I highly recommend it.
* Thank you to the publisher of An Uncommon Education, Harper Perennial, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.