what you need is an adult education
My Education, by Susan Choi; Published by Penguin Books, Available in Trade Paperback (2014)
There’s a certain kind of protagonist who appears in romantic stories (usually, but not always comedic) — unlucky and ungraceful, they nonetheless win the object of their desire. The vulnerability of the main character heightens the pathos of their struggle. Choi’s Regina falls in love in such a desperate, passionate, unpremeditated way that she transcends comedic helplessness and appears before the reader stripped completely — an archetype of reckless, youthful, obsessive love. Her desire is seductive, consuming and almost unbearably compelling.
All of Choi’s characters are lively, idiosyncratic and beautifully realized, her command of place and scene is such that moments and highlights of the book linger in the mind with the clarity of photographs, and her observations on age and aging would be profound and thought provoking even stripped of the wider context of the book. Though a passionate study of young love, ultimately this reveals itself as a coming of age story in the deepest way possible - a meditation on the meanings and transitions of youth and middle age.
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