Title: An Uncommon Education
Author: Elizabeth Percer
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Edition: ARCSource: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 4/24/2012
Rating: 3/5Recommend: yes
An Uncommon Education is a coming of age novel which takes place around Boston, Massachusetts. The protagonist, Naomi Feinstein is a brilliant young girl destined for greatness, as a young girl she absorbs everything around her and all that she reads. In school, her teacher goes so far as to to accuse her of cheating, but that's not the caset, she's just extremely bright.
"My father claims he made headway with me as a scholar during potty training. 'A captive audience for the first time in three years. What I read to you!' When I was four he began to buy me notebooks and pencils the Tuesday after Labor Day; by the age of seven he was slipping standardized tests into my homework pile. For entertainment I was given such things as Infamous Women coloring books; Shakespeare's plays in comic book form; my own miniature Torah, the scroll which was covered in wavy black lines; historically correct figures of Clara Barton and Abigail Adams; math games made pretty with glass marbles; and a jump rope with a booklet of illustrated counting rhymes to accompany it. In addition to our regular visits to the Kennedy home, every April 19th we drove to Lexington before dawn to witness the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington and Concord; every July 4th er walked the Freedom Trail."
A somewhat lonely child, Naomi's mother, is a somewhat distant woman who seems to be clinically depressed (later on the reader learns more about that). She and her father, however, have a very special relationship, and they spend lots of quality time together. On one of their routine outings, Naomi's father suffers a heart attack, and although he survives and undergoes by-pass surgery. It is at this point that she dreams of attending Wellesley College with intentions of becoming a doctor -- hoping to save her parents in the process.
As a child, Naomi's one real friend is Teddy Rosenthal, the odd young boy from next door.
" He was a terrific distraction from everything that felt full of holes: school, my mother, my father's heart. We had invented a world; the universe has turned upside down and given us mastery over our lives. We felt bold together, invincible, capable of doing anything and everything, and the more this feeling overcame us, the more time we spent together, so that almost every waking moment of our lives was either at school or in each other's company, both of us delighting in our imaginary worlds as we spun them out beneath us."
The adopted son of Jewish Orthodox parents, Teddy's mother does not like Naomi or her family. She calls her a "shiksa" and she doesn't want her son to associate with her. When Teddy's father dies, his mother sells the house and the two of them move away to New Jersey just two weeks after. The friends miss each other terribly.
I'll be curious to read what other reviewers had to say about this novel.