My Education; Susan Choi
Penguin - 2014
My Education introduces readers to 20 year old Regina Gottlieb, a grad student in literature - early 1990's. Regina has heard rumors of about the infamous Professor Nicholas Brodeur, an incredibly attractive man known for his unprofessional behavior when it comes to young women --apparently the sexual harassment workshops the university requires were ineffective.
Regina while brainy is also a bit of a ditz, but she is a ditz who knows what she likes and what she wants. She wrangles her way into Professor Brodeur's seminar, and it isn't long before she gets a job as his teaching assistant, ingratiates herself into his social circle, and even makes a pass at his wife Martha at a party at the couple's home. She doesn't stop there either. Regina is young, naive, loves sex, and is passionate about all she is experiencing like the many young women before and after her. She's also naive in believing that the passion and intensity of it all will go on forever.
This is one of those novels where every character is unlikable, everyone sleeps around, yet the writing is very good and very spicy. There is a lot of swearing and plenty of sex and the academic setting (felt like maybe Cornell) was the perfect arena for this type of story which is driven by the dialogue. The reader gets a glimpse of a more mature Regina in 2007 and explores the consequences of earlier actions. This book is definitely not for everyone -- lust, love, betrayal, offensive characters etc, but it would definitely make for some interesting cocktail party conversation.