Sunday, June 23, 2013
My Education by Susan Choi
This book is addictive and I couldn't put it down.
It does remind me a bit of the Marriage Plot (an absolute love of mine) yet it's also very very different; in fact, more different than the same. It shares a time period...the 1980s or so (Choi isn't as clear) and a revisiting of a love from college. We see the vantage point of our young heroine in her early 20s and then fourteen years later. How different our relationships look when viewed at through the lens of maturity.
Choi writes about love, obsession and how badly we can behave in its depths. And how little we understand at the time. I'm not sure I could have fully understood this book when I was younger, at the heroine's age but I probably would have enjoyed it anyway.
We watch Regina get enthralled by her dashing professor and his compelling wife, Martha. Various friends impact the plot. But Choi surprises us with how the story unfolds. She adds interesting quirks to her characters, mostly believable, though not always. Still, this is fiction and the story held me to the point I couldn't put the book down.
What Choi does right is to really understand young love. The topic is hard to write believably and throwing intimacy into the mix can be virtually impossible without veering into parody. What she didn't do well is that the ending is predictable and some of the details strained.
Choi is also a great writer. She doesn't fall into that category of sloppy novel which seems too often to arrive in my mailbox. I recommend this book for both men and women. Better done than most on love, it struck a chord.