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An Education: My Life Might Have Turned Out Differently if I Had Just Said No

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Lynn Barber's true story, now a major film of the same name scripted by Nick Hornby. At 16, Lynn Barber was an ambitious schoolgirl working towards a place at Oxford, when she was picked up at a bus-stop by an attractive older man in a sports car. So began a relationship that almost wrecked her life. Barber's fascinating memoir takes us beyond this bizarre episode, revealing Lynn Barber's true story, now a major film of the same name scripted by Nick Hornby. At 16, Lynn Barber was an ambitious schoolgirl working towards a place at Oxford, when she was picked up at a bus-stop by an attractive older man in a sports car. So began a relationship that almost wrecked her life. Barber's fascinating memoir takes us beyond this bizarre episode, revealing how it left her with an abiding mistrust of men which paradoxically led her to a promiscuous life-style at university until she met her husband-to-be. An Education tells how she went on to work for seven years at daring (for the times) men's magazine Penthouse before beginning her starry days as the Demon Barber - Britain's most entertaining and most feared interviewer. The book ends with an extraordinarily moving account of the early death of her husband. Her writing is refreshingly frank and funny.


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Lynn Barber's true story, now a major film of the same name scripted by Nick Hornby. At 16, Lynn Barber was an ambitious schoolgirl working towards a place at Oxford, when she was picked up at a bus-stop by an attractive older man in a sports car. So began a relationship that almost wrecked her life. Barber's fascinating memoir takes us beyond this bizarre episode, revealing Lynn Barber's true story, now a major film of the same name scripted by Nick Hornby. At 16, Lynn Barber was an ambitious schoolgirl working towards a place at Oxford, when she was picked up at a bus-stop by an attractive older man in a sports car. So began a relationship that almost wrecked her life. Barber's fascinating memoir takes us beyond this bizarre episode, revealing how it left her with an abiding mistrust of men which paradoxically led her to a promiscuous life-style at university until she met her husband-to-be. An Education tells how she went on to work for seven years at daring (for the times) men's magazine Penthouse before beginning her starry days as the Demon Barber - Britain's most entertaining and most feared interviewer. The book ends with an extraordinarily moving account of the early death of her husband. Her writing is refreshingly frank and funny.

30 review for An Education: My Life Might Have Turned Out Differently if I Had Just Said No

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    As the majority of people who are currently reading An Education, I became interested in this book only because of the Oscar-nominated version of Lynn Barber's affair with an older man - I simply wanted to know if there was more to her story than shown on the big screen. In some ways, there was. The movie is based on just one chapter of this very short book and, I have to say, the movie makers took quite a few liberties with the story. To my surprise, the real affair wasn't quite as dramatic as p As the majority of people who are currently reading An Education, I became interested in this book only because of the Oscar-nominated version of Lynn Barber's affair with an older man - I simply wanted to know if there was more to her story than shown on the big screen. In some ways, there was. The movie is based on just one chapter of this very short book and, I have to say, the movie makers took quite a few liberties with the story. To my surprise, the real affair wasn't quite as dramatic as portrayed in the adaptation and the heroine wasn't quite that naive or that in love with the man. As far as the rest of this memoir goes, I probably would have never picked up this book, simply because I have never heard of Lynn Barber before. Barber is evidently a known in some circles interviewer and a journalist. Maybe I am wrong, but aren't you supposed to be a famous person to write and publish an autobiography, otherwise who would care to read about your life? I don't mean that An Education is a bad book, but it is the type of book that any person could write. This memoir is not particularly detailed or mind-blowing, but a succinct story of Barber's life which is pretty much ordinary. It contains a few anecdotes about her affair with a much older man, about her promiscuous youth, of her work at "Penthouse" and other publications, and of her marriage. And that's about it. Pretty much An Education is an engaging and short life story of a totally insignificant person

  2. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Author and award winning journalist Lynn Barber's life is fascinating. She had an affair at 16 with an older, married man. Her first journalism job out of Oxford was at Penthouse. She won awards over the course of three decades. With a life like that, you'd think that her memoir would be spectacular, full of hilarious and poignant stories as she navigated school, marriage, her career, the births of two children, sex discrimination, and the death of her husband. But it's not. Her memoir is shallo Author and award winning journalist Lynn Barber's life is fascinating. She had an affair at 16 with an older, married man. Her first journalism job out of Oxford was at Penthouse. She won awards over the course of three decades. With a life like that, you'd think that her memoir would be spectacular, full of hilarious and poignant stories as she navigated school, marriage, her career, the births of two children, sex discrimination, and the death of her husband. But it's not. Her memoir is shallow and boring. It is a perfect example of what happens when a writer breaks one of the cardinal rules of writing "Show, don't tell." I am shocked and appalled that an award winning journalist could butcher her own life like this, turning it and herself into mindless drivel that drones on for 172 pages. Thank goodness it was so short because I doubt I could have handled much more. And what writer could sum up her adolescent and adult life, especially one of such caliber and minor celebrity, in under 200 pages? I'm just thankful the book ended and that I can return it to the library.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Mullane || At Home in Books

    I have a thing for memoirs. I understand people's concerns that memoirs more than often show a very one-sided account of events, but I like to think I can remain objective while enjoying some time inside someone else's head. An Education has been on my shelf for many years, which is why I have tackled it as part of my current 'Backlist Readathon'. English Journalist Lynn Barber was just sixteen when she began a two-year relationship with a much older man. She was a studious teenager working towar I have a thing for memoirs. I understand people's concerns that memoirs more than often show a very one-sided account of events, but I like to think I can remain objective while enjoying some time inside someone else's head. An Education has been on my shelf for many years, which is why I have tackled it as part of my current 'Backlist Readathon'. English Journalist Lynn Barber was just sixteen when she began a two-year relationship with a much older man. She was a studious teenager working towards her application to Oxford when she was swept off her feet by someone who took her virginity and went on to deceive both her and her parents. This memoir exposes how this strange teenage love affair coloured the rest of Lynn's life, leading to her instinctive distrust of others. It recounts her promiscuous lifestyle at St. Anne's College in Oxford before meeting her husband, David; her marriage and six years as a stay at home mother; her early career with Penthouse magazine and her subsequent career with a number of publications including The Sunday Times and The Observer. And, in her poignant and frank words, this memoirs gives us a glimpse into the suffering and early death of her husband. An Education is a razor sharp and utterly readable story about the loss of innocence and the awkward and sometimes painful period of limbo between girlhood and womanhood. It is searingly honest, witty and very, very moving. 4 stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Oriana

    I should just say, by the by, that this is one of my absolute favorite ways to read: I scored this book at the Brokelyn Book Swap (I forget what I traded for it; certainly some crap), and I knew and know absolutely nothing about it. I've never heard of Lynn Barber, I only know this book was made into a movie because it says so loudly on the back (and because Elizabeth kindly pointed it out below), I don't even know what the book is going to be about. But it turns out that I love it! It's the Bri I should just say, by the by, that this is one of my absolute favorite ways to read: I scored this book at the Brokelyn Book Swap (I forget what I traded for it; certainly some crap), and I knew and know absolutely nothing about it. I've never heard of Lynn Barber, I only know this book was made into a movie because it says so loudly on the back (and because Elizabeth kindly pointed it out below), I don't even know what the book is going to be about. But it turns out that I love it! It's the British-est thing I've come across since The Young Ones. It's charming and clever and funny. I'm still waiting to find out what it is about her life that got her a memoir (and a movie deal), but I don't even mind the wait. *** Oh man, I really need to review books right after I finish them, before I forget all the clever things I was going to say. Ummm, this book was lots of fun and very witty and did I mention British? Oh my, so so British. Lynn Barber is apparently a very famous British journalist, known as "Demon Barber" for being a relentless bitch of an interviewer. But she is so charming in this memoir, it's kind of hard to believe. Or no, not that exactly, but anyway it seems reasonable that such a clever and strong and sensible woman would take no shit from famous people. She got her start at Penthouse, so clearly she is more interesting than someone with just a journalism degree from a fancy college. I love the part where she is first working at Penthouse as a proofreader and she and the editor have arguments about serial commas and em-dashes. Let me tell you, as a copyeditor, I have strong feelings about punctuation, obvs probably too strong, and it's so lovely hearing about other people who care about it. Also, as a veteran journalist and interviewer, she has a piercingly good ability to both size up and then interestingly describe people, and so all of the characters in here sparkle with life. Her parents are hilariously awful, her coworkers are hilariously terrifying (at Penthouse, of course, the woman in charge of the business side of things is a former stripper and dominatrix with a crazy African British accent and very odd priorities), her husband is hilariously wonderful, etc. I like that a lot of the memoir is focused on her early life, which is just an interesting story of a small-town girl being seduced and taken for a ride by a much older gentleman with bad ulterior motives. Although, if I'd known that I was reading the memoir of a famous journalist, this probably would have annoyed me, because I would have been impatient for her to grow up and talk about the "good stuff." Which is all another reason why I'm very pleased I didn't know anything about this going in. I wish it were easier, or even possible, to do that more often, and know that the results were likely to be good.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Like many, I picked up this title after seeing the movie, and thinking that there was more to that story, and I wanted to read about it. I was astonished that the movie (well-told, emotionally satisfying) was adapted from one slim chapter in the book. A faithful adaptation, as well, except that our young protagonist seems rather more worldly than the charming naivete exhibited by Carey Mulligan; and that Peter Saarsgard is likely more handsome than the rakish lover in the book. That slim chapter Like many, I picked up this title after seeing the movie, and thinking that there was more to that story, and I wanted to read about it. I was astonished that the movie (well-told, emotionally satisfying) was adapted from one slim chapter in the book. A faithful adaptation, as well, except that our young protagonist seems rather more worldly than the charming naivete exhibited by Carey Mulligan; and that Peter Saarsgard is likely more handsome than the rakish lover in the book. That slim chapter packed in more story and character than many full-length novels, and I was so glad there was more to read. The structure of this memoir was not conventional -- each chapter is self-contained about a topic such as work, husband, etc -- and each would stand up on its own. What binds the entire work together is the force of Barber's voice. She's disarming in her easy candor, strings words together that pull you through a seemingly simple sentence. Never sentimental, yet surprisingly forceful. I was stunned into silence at the emotional impact that at times snuck up on me -- the last chapter and the genius postscript wrapped up the entire body of work in the final sentence. Other times I laughed out loud, or rudely snickered, two things that rarely happen while reading. Her effortless prose and singular voice make this the second-best memoir I've read in the last five years, and firmly place it in my top-ten memoirs, a place of honor in a genre clogged with mediocrity.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Suziey

    Huh. Very different from the film. Lynn Barber has certainly led an interesting life, though. Overall, an okay book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Mullarkey

    When a colleague told me we’d gotten this screenplay and that we now own the book, the screenplay and the movie I thought it would make a great choice for our Book Into Film series. For no reason I can fathom, I read the screenplay before the memoir. It was wonderful, witty and fast and a bit heart-breaking. After the screenplay I watched the film and was pleased to see that Lone Scherfig had captured all of that and the wonderful style of 1960s London. Charmed by both the screenplay and the film When a colleague told me we’d gotten this screenplay and that we now own the book, the screenplay and the movie I thought it would make a great choice for our Book Into Film series. For no reason I can fathom, I read the screenplay before the memoir. It was wonderful, witty and fast and a bit heart-breaking. After the screenplay I watched the film and was pleased to see that Lone Scherfig had captured all of that and the wonderful style of 1960s London. Charmed by both the screenplay and the film I turned to Lynn Barber’s memoir. I knew that it covered her entire life and not just the one chapter on which the film was based. Encountering Barber’s direct prose and unembellished style I saw how a relatively short chapter could become a feature-length film. But what surprised me was how different the stories were. Hornby said in his introduction to the screenplay that he wanted to change the names of the leads to allow him some license with the story. But he took such license that I am not sure I would have recognized the story if I’d read them in the other order. There were certain moments that were lifted straight from Barber’s narrative and I could follow these like beads on a string. Still, I know why the opening credits say the film was “inspired by” Barber’s memoir. Nevertheless, it was not so distracting that I couldn’t enjoy the book. Barber has led quite a life. Every era was fascinating from her child hood as the daughter of an elocution teacher through her young adult life as a party girl at Oxford and into her journalism career which took her from Penthouse to writing sex manuals and finally to writing for The Independent and Vanity Fair. Not every chapter is fun or funny, but each resonates with emotion and the excitement of a life fully lived. The story on which the film is based is simply another entertaining chapter in an engrossing story. In the end I would say the best thing I did when reading these two was to read them in the order I did. As different as the screenplay is from the memoir I think I would have been disappointed if I became attached to the real Lynn Barber and then saw her life turned inside out for the film. But reading the screenplay first, I could enjoy Jenny and David’s story and then meet Lynn as her own person. And given that, I would recommend them both and encourage readers and viewers to save the memoir for after the screenplay and film.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

    This is one of the few times I believe the movie was better than the book. I had such a hard time liking this. The author spends the whole book tooting her own horn, and blaming everything bad on everyone else. She comes off as the kind of person who is always trying to remind everyone how wonderfully intelligent and special she is. I literally groaned as she mentioned how smart she was, and how all the children didn't like her because of it. Really? Are you sure it wasn't because you acted, and This is one of the few times I believe the movie was better than the book. I had such a hard time liking this. The author spends the whole book tooting her own horn, and blaming everything bad on everyone else. She comes off as the kind of person who is always trying to remind everyone how wonderfully intelligent and special she is. I literally groaned as she mentioned how smart she was, and how all the children didn't like her because of it. Really? Are you sure it wasn't because you acted, and seem to still believe, you were better than them?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Booklover Butterfly

    When I picked up An Education by Lynn Barber, I was expecting something different from the book, but I wasn’t disappointed by what it delivered. It follows Lynn through various periods of her life, focusing a lot on her dating and love life as well as touching on her schooling and career. The synopsis on the back of the book is a bit deceptive in my opinion. I was under the impression that the memoir would focus almost solely on her experience as a 16-year-old in a relationship with a mysterious When I picked up An Education by Lynn Barber, I was expecting something different from the book, but I wasn’t disappointed by what it delivered. It follows Lynn through various periods of her life, focusing a lot on her dating and love life as well as touching on her schooling and career. The synopsis on the back of the book is a bit deceptive in my opinion. I was under the impression that the memoir would focus almost solely on her experience as a 16-year-old in a relationship with a mysterious, much older man. That isn’t the case. The memoir touches on many stages of her life. It doesn’t follow every detail of her life all the way until the present, but rather it floats around touching on a certain event and then drifting around until it touches another event, and not necessarily in chronological order. I found Lynn’s earlier years (pre-Oxford) to be the most enthralling part of her story. Even though it only takes up a small portion of the book, it is by far the most memorable. Lynn has certainly had a number of very interesting experiences during her life, but her relationship with the older man is what stands out. If you are seeking to read this memoir based on seeing and liking the film, you may be disappointed by how little of the memoir actually covers what you saw in the film. If you are haven’t seen the film yet but are predominantly interested in the older man younger woman relationship, I almost want to say skip the memoir and go see the film instead. That’s not to say that the memoir isn’t good. I just want to be clear that there very little time actually spent on that event in her life. After finishing An Education, I still can’t define my feelings towards Lynn. She had some very admirable qualities such as her intelligence and strength to overcome things, but she also seemed cold and distant to me at times. There were certain times during the memoir where I struggled to relate to her or understand what motivated her actions and behavior. One thing that is certain is that she has led a unique and fascinating life. For those who enjoy memoirs and don’t have any preconceived expectations, I’d recommend reading this. It’s a quick read that would be perfect for a lazy Sunday.

  10. 4 out of 5

    beatricks

    Listened to the whole short audiobook in one night. The first few sections I thought were wonderful. What is extraordinary is not her experience in the palm of a much older and corrupt man, but how she moved forward with resolve never to do things the same way again. Unable to trust, least of all her parents, yet eager to experience. It spoke to my experience as a teen and honestly shed some unexpected light on old traumas. Her latter stories are interesting as well, but she paints herself as an Listened to the whole short audiobook in one night. The first few sections I thought were wonderful. What is extraordinary is not her experience in the palm of a much older and corrupt man, but how she moved forward with resolve never to do things the same way again. Unable to trust, least of all her parents, yet eager to experience. It spoke to my experience as a teen and honestly shed some unexpected light on old traumas. Her latter stories are interesting as well, but she paints herself as an unlikeable person -- seemingly by reputation, e.g. her "Demon Barber" interview style, and the standards of of society -- and you never really get to know her beyond that. You know she loves her family and birdwatching because she says so, but she doesn't tell any stories of her inner life as an adult. It's all career stories and being seen as troublesome by everyone. It's very odd and ends on the oddest note of the book, her being glad that her recently deceased husband probably had an affair because it made up for her being a bad wife. Was she actually a bad wife in any way? No idea. Humans are unknowable, says the moral of her story, the sum of her education. Most of all Lynn Barber. I do recommend the audiobook, by the way -- the reader has a lovely crisp inflection and does several accents and impressive recitations when called for while discussing elocution, which I certainly would not have gotten out of the words on paper.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I'm not really sure how this ended up on my TBR list. I'd guess the film but I haven't seen it, although this is often how I end up adding random books, so I shouldn't be surprised. I picked this one up because it was short and I knew I could get through it quickly before my next library book would be available. And it is a quick read, decently written, engaging. Here's the thing though, it's a memoir about absolutely nothing. I don't even know who Lynn Barber is and there was nothing revealed t I'm not really sure how this ended up on my TBR list. I'd guess the film but I haven't seen it, although this is often how I end up adding random books, so I shouldn't be surprised. I picked this one up because it was short and I knew I could get through it quickly before my next library book would be available. And it is a quick read, decently written, engaging. Here's the thing though, it's a memoir about absolutely nothing. I don't even know who Lynn Barber is and there was nothing revealed that made me want to know more about her. And from what I can tell, the hoopla made of the movie is only one small chapter of the book, and really didn't seem very consequential. Overall, unless you are interested in Lynn Barber, I can't see why anyone would bother with this book. Side note, she's rather vain and snobbish and from what I can tell, she really had no reason to be. I have no time for vain people.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    "As I've said before, I'm a deep believer in the unknowability of other people. " - Lynn Barber If I ever become famous or do something worth a damn, I want to be interviewed by Lynn Barber. Why? Because she's freaking amazing. I have been in a Carey Mulligan kick lately. I was lead back to the movie that got her on the Hollywood radar, An Education. Once I found out it was based off Barber's book, I knew I had to read it before I watched the movie. In An Education, Barber discusses her life growi "As I've said before, I'm a deep believer in the unknowability of other people. " - Lynn Barber If I ever become famous or do something worth a damn, I want to be interviewed by Lynn Barber. Why? Because she's freaking amazing. I have been in a Carey Mulligan kick lately. I was lead back to the movie that got her on the Hollywood radar, An Education. Once I found out it was based off Barber's book, I knew I had to read it before I watched the movie. In An Education, Barber discusses her life growing up in 1960s England, getting on an older gentleman's named Simon radar, expanding her journalism qualifications, becoming a wife and mother, and dealing with a heartbreaking loss. An Education really surprised me. I'm in love with Barber's prose. She's hilarious, concise, unapologetic and sarcastic. She gave zero f**ks about what people thought about her career at Penthouse. She went after what she wanted. What really surprised me was her relationship with Simon. Originally, I thought it was going to be some lovey dovey forlorn treatise on how a 16 year old was gravelly manipulated by man in his 30s. Instead, Barber didn't let herself get taken with Simon himself but the lifestyle. The real victims were her parents. When Simon proposed to Barber, she thought it was madness as she wanted to go to Oxford but her parents were all for her forsaking school in order to become Simon's wife. Barber was completely baffled and felt betrayed by them. The two people who are supposed to protect her and keep her safe. After finding out the truth about Simon and going their separate ways, Barber considered this whole situation her education. The aforementioned quote was born. Barber has written another book and I'm so going to read it!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Klaudia

    WARNING: DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE READING THIS BOOK. Despite the fact that the movie only dramatises (yes with an S and not with a Z) one chapter of this book, the viewer may be intrigued to know what a tragic mess that poor naive teenage girl made of the rest of her life. Or something else that's equally as far-fetched as that assumption. In reality, any assumptions made about Lynn Barber are NOT TRUE. I loved her memoir. Absolutely loved it. It doesn't even come close to fathomable that t WARNING: DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE READING THIS BOOK. Despite the fact that the movie only dramatises (yes with an S and not with a Z) one chapter of this book, the viewer may be intrigued to know what a tragic mess that poor naive teenage girl made of the rest of her life. Or something else that's equally as far-fetched as that assumption. In reality, any assumptions made about Lynn Barber are NOT TRUE. I loved her memoir. Absolutely loved it. It doesn't even come close to fathomable that the rest of the book is boring compared to her tryst with an older man. In fact, in the movie the older con seems dashing and daring, in the book he seems feeble and puny. Anyway, back to the rest of the memoir. This isn't your typical over the top "look at how lame my life was and I how survived it" memoir. Lynn Barber has an affair with a man she barely asks questions about because she's your typical clever know-it-all school girl in an existential phase. And she blames Albert Camus to top it all off. The rest of her life focuses on her triumphs. She actually led a pretty happy and stable life. She doesn't go into deep detail about the turmoils of her 30 year marriage, but she did say there were some bad parts. But of course every marriage has turmoils. She doesn't go into detail about insecurities or petty rubbish (ha ha), but keeps it short and sweet. She isn't your typical clever girl who talks about how her sheer brilliance is what got her success. She basically talks about getting TO success. Not knowing what happiness is, till she finds it. She's worked for penthouse, she's written sex manuals, she's been happily married and raised KIDS. She's like Carey Bradshaw without being single and unhappy for 40 odd years of her life. I think this book was funny, clever, and totally unexpected. I didn't care to know more about her life, and I loved her journalistic style of writing. It's somewhat refreshing to read after reading so many horrid (ha ha) and terribly dry memoirs. The woman is like, a pioneer without even ever trying to be one! I say read this and be inspired to be a little selfish (but not too much) and to learn a few things about the cleverness of a naughty school girl. The woman has lived her life unconventionally from the start and she fits not in one single category. Which is what I love about this memoir. Of course if you're looking for some sap story, you should go read something about incest or drugs or poverty. You're not going to find it in this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liralen

    For all that the cover copy is entirely about the ill-fated (and ill-advised) relationship Barber had with an older man when she was a teenager, the book is...not really about that. Oh, it's a chapter in her life (and the book), but it's neither the most important nor the most interesting chapter. I'm sure it informed the way she approached things going forwards, but...well, 'younger girl scammed by older man' is not a new story, or an unusual one. (I do want to see the movie now, though. Carey M For all that the cover copy is entirely about the ill-fated (and ill-advised) relationship Barber had with an older man when she was a teenager, the book is...not really about that. Oh, it's a chapter in her life (and the book), but it's neither the most important nor the most interesting chapter. I'm sure it informed the way she approached things going forwards, but...well, 'younger girl scammed by older man' is not a new story, or an unusual one. (I do want to see the movie now, though. Carey Mulligan and Emma Thompson are too fantastic for me to resist.) At any rate, the book wanders through Barber's life, lingering on periods such as the time she spent working for Penthouse. That was perhaps the most compelling portion of the book for me, highlighting as it does not just the job but also the job within the time period. It's an entertaining book—funny and self-aware—though I would have loved it to slow down and spin things out more gradually...done differently, the relationship with the 'con man' could have been an entire book; so too could the period Barber spent at Penthouse. I especially wanted some kind of follow-up with Simon (the con man)—this isn't the sort of book that's heavy on research, but that definitely might have been somewhere for the publisher and author to do some digging!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Admittedly I read this after watching the film so came to it with some premeditated ideas on what to expect. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed by the memoir of her early life, the emotion was raw and she wasn't afraid to open up about the truth around, what can only be described as, the sordid affair (on his behalf mainly). The blurb of the book, however, claims that the memoirs are a description of how the affair affected her life; presumably to sell it along with the movie. Once her younge Admittedly I read this after watching the film so came to it with some premeditated ideas on what to expect. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed by the memoir of her early life, the emotion was raw and she wasn't afraid to open up about the truth around, what can only be described as, the sordid affair (on his behalf mainly). The blurb of the book, however, claims that the memoirs are a description of how the affair affected her life; presumably to sell it along with the movie. Once her younger years were over and we are given an insight into her career, the emotion wears off, there is no longer any reference to how her younger years affected the rest of her life and it becomes merely a few chapters of name dropping, a list of her achievements and simply stating fact. I began to lose empathy as the book went on. The only time she opened up again was when talking about her husband's battle with cancer. Even then, the book just stops and no consolidation is given. Apart from a slight remark on the affair. Definitely read before watching the film, otherwise you get a tainted view of the book. There is more emotion in the book at the beginning than in the film, but there isn't much to look forward to once we delve into her career.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    As most everyone, I became interested in this book when I realized that the Carey Mulligan movie had been inspired by true events, and that the original "Jenny" had composed a much more extensive memoir of her life. Barber's life was certainly full of interesting events: her solitary childhood, her affair at 16, her bohemian college life, meeting and snatching the man of her life, her first hand experience at the birth of Penthouse and her work relationship with its founders, her career as an int As most everyone, I became interested in this book when I realized that the Carey Mulligan movie had been inspired by true events, and that the original "Jenny" had composed a much more extensive memoir of her life. Barber's life was certainly full of interesting events: her solitary childhood, her affair at 16, her bohemian college life, meeting and snatching the man of her life, her first hand experience at the birth of Penthouse and her work relationship with its founders, her career as an interviewer, and coping with her husband's illness. All this certainly makes for a entertaining read. Unfortunately, Barber rarely goes beyond the bare facts other life, offering a juicy anecdote here and there, and some of her personal insights on the events which shaped her life, but hardly anything more. As a whole, this short memoir is nice but not at all... ahem... memorable. The fact that its author is a professional writer certainly suggests that a lot more could have been done with it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tosh

    I was seduced by the graphic design of the cover, and it started off well, but it then turned into something really not interesting to me. i never heard of Lynn Barber before I picked up this book. But it starts off about her teenage affair with an older man, who of course was sort of a con-artist. The thing is I find him more fascinating than the author. The middle part of the book is about her career as a journalist for various British newspapers and magazines, including Vanity Faire - but aga I was seduced by the graphic design of the cover, and it started off well, but it then turned into something really not interesting to me. i never heard of Lynn Barber before I picked up this book. But it starts off about her teenage affair with an older man, who of course was sort of a con-artist. The thing is I find him more fascinating than the author. The middle part of the book is about her career as a journalist for various British newspapers and magazines, including Vanity Faire - but again there are touches of interest, but i don't get a full image of what it was like to work for the British Journalist world. So one just get sketches. The third and last part is about her late husband's illness. Which is gripping, but it was also depressing of course. The book moves from section to section, but it doesn't feel like a whole book to me. When you compare it to something like Patti Smith's remarkable memoir, this is kid's stuff.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eden

    (the film is better) blasphemy!!! shush eden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    CaitlynK

    I came, we'll say fashionably, late to Nick Hornby's film adaptation of An Education. I've never been able to muster much sympathy for modern older male/teenaged female relationships (with one notable exception, featuring a girl with a fake I.D. and a relationship that was well underway before her real age came to light), so despite the almost cultish following the film has, I went about avoiding it. Curiosity got the better of me last month, and then the pull of Oxford sent me on a hunt for Lynn I came, we'll say fashionably, late to Nick Hornby's film adaptation of An Education. I've never been able to muster much sympathy for modern older male/teenaged female relationships (with one notable exception, featuring a girl with a fake I.D. and a relationship that was well underway before her real age came to light), so despite the almost cultish following the film has, I went about avoiding it. Curiosity got the better of me last month, and then the pull of Oxford sent me on a hunt for Lynn Barber's own account. (The hunt actually proved to be difficult: one store told me they couldn't even order it in from the English publisher, inquiries at second-hand shops dead-ended, and I had to settle for the practical, but unadventurous, option of a third-party Amazon seller.) The author's time at Oxford was covered in a single chapter, leaving me a bit disgruntled (where can I find personal accounts of Oxford students? In the memoir vein, as opposed to biography. There's got to be a list somewhere). Her infamous run-in with Simon is also only a chapter long, leaving most of the book uncharted territory. To call it light reading would be misleading, but Barber's wry, dry style does lend itself to readability (this took only an afternoon and an evening to finish), but the subject matter does not tend toward the fluffy. Perhaps the result of a journalistic attempt to annihilate any trace of sentimentalism, I did find the book to be rather bloodless, with the exception of the very end, which continued to be brutally straightforward but also gave more of a feel for Barber as a person. Barber as a person did seem to be generally lacking from the book, somehow left on the sidelines even as events in her life, and her participation in them, unravel. One gets a good sense of her authorial presence, rift with humor and a definite idea of how to live, but, in the end, things don't often tally up. For instance, she claims multiple times that she was constantly exerting effort to keep from being bored, but her relationship with Simon goes on for two years, despite her apparent apathy toward him (and her stated reasons for this, including her parents' enthusiasm and her own love of Simon's friends, are never explored enough to be convincing). I spent two-hundred pages with the woman, but only the last twenty made me feel as though I knew anything much about her. Overall, this wasn't quite what I was looking for, but I do intend to ferret out Barber's earlier Granta piece (the framework for the movie), with hopes of a glimpse of Oxford. And, frankly, to see if her presentation of the encounter with Simon changed any, once Hornby's version was out in the world, giving people a very different view of things.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rach

    I went into the book having enjoyed the film based upon it and expecting to read something similar. That is not what this book is about. And that's not a bad thing. The chapter that the movie version was based on is rather short and does feel quite cinematic in that it truly is quite an interesting, to-the-point story. But to be honest, I think this chapter on her "educational" experience with Simon was probably my least favorite, if only because it still remains incomprehensible. Why would her I went into the book having enjoyed the film based upon it and expecting to read something similar. That is not what this book is about. And that's not a bad thing. The chapter that the movie version was based on is rather short and does feel quite cinematic in that it truly is quite an interesting, to-the-point story. But to be honest, I think this chapter on her "educational" experience with Simon was probably my least favorite, if only because it still remains incomprehensible. Why would her parents even allow this sort of thing? Also, she is clear in the book that she wasn't really in love with Simon, and wasn't that broken up about their destroyed relationship, and therefore, the whole experience for her was sort of clinical. What she learned from their time together was people can't be trusted. Period. Also, don't bother hiding anything, because it will come out. What was more fascinating than her brief time with Simon the liar was the chapters on her writing career and her relationship with her husband, David. Barber's writing is honest and clear, concise and descriptive. Not only has she led an interesting life, but she has the ability to look back at it and be objective. The last chapter, about her husband's failing health, is compelling and quite touching, without being mushy or overdramatic. Overall, I would describe this book as a simple portrait of life and death, with a side of journalism, and recommend it to most everyone. Just don't give up until you get past chapter 2. :)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve

    I admit, I did read this after seeing the movie. And I did like the early portions about her youthful affairs the best. I realize that makes it sound like I liked the book in a shallow way, for the sensational bits, but really that's not it. Rather, Barber's writing about her childhood and college years offers a truly fascinating look at the development of her mind and the way that, as a young person, she tried to make sense of the world--something we all go through, but often in sharply differe I admit, I did read this after seeing the movie. And I did like the early portions about her youthful affairs the best. I realize that makes it sound like I liked the book in a shallow way, for the sensational bits, but really that's not it. Rather, Barber's writing about her childhood and college years offers a truly fascinating look at the development of her mind and the way that, as a young person, she tried to make sense of the world--something we all go through, but often in sharply different ways. Unfortunately once her career in journalism gets going the narrative gets a bit duller. I won't say it stalls, because this a tiny, zippy book full of sharp sentences; it's not long enough to get bogged down. But she stops writing about her own mind and starts writing about her work, and this tale of career success just isn't that interesting. There are a few more flashes of fascination towards the end when she writes about her husband's struggle with cancer, because Barber isn't afraid to be honest about emotions that are not what you are conventionally supposed to feel. She's wonderfully blunt and unsentimental, and I wish she'd managed to show us more of that.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I picked this book up one day when I was sick because it was short and looked like it wouldn't tax my brain too much. I expected it to be like the movie, but better since I didn't really like the movie that much. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the section that discusses what the movie is about was a mere chapter and found Lynn's description of herself so much more understandable and sympathetic than the character in the movie. And then that was it. Besides little mentions of the affair, I picked this book up one day when I was sick because it was short and looked like it wouldn't tax my brain too much. I expected it to be like the movie, but better since I didn't really like the movie that much. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the section that discusses what the movie is about was a mere chapter and found Lynn's description of herself so much more understandable and sympathetic than the character in the movie. And then that was it. Besides little mentions of the affair, the rest of the book was about how she got on with her life. I spent a lot of time laughing and then would have to stop and read passages to my husband. He didn't laugh as much as I did, but they may have something the do with the fact that I had my mouth guard in and was lisping quite a bit. I read the last 100 pages in a single sitting and laughed and laughed until I cried (no, not from laughter). I could read this book again.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    I couldn't wait to read this book. I had read an excerpt in the Guardian (chapter 3 I think) about a relationship she had had with an older man when she was just 16. I wanted to know more. I ordered the book online and was immediately disappointed - it was too slim. It was done in one sitting and, frustratingly, chapter 3 was the most fascinating. Not much more was revealed about that episode of her life. It was strung together with other snippets, glimpses at her life - lots of sex at Oxford, w I couldn't wait to read this book. I had read an excerpt in the Guardian (chapter 3 I think) about a relationship she had had with an older man when she was just 16. I wanted to know more. I ordered the book online and was immediately disappointed - it was too slim. It was done in one sitting and, frustratingly, chapter 3 was the most fascinating. Not much more was revealed about that episode of her life. It was strung together with other snippets, glimpses at her life - lots of sex at Oxford, writing for Penthouse, and then a touching but incongruous chapter about her husband's illness. I am not sure why she committed to more than a magazine article on the subject of herself. It will be interesting to see the film based on that fabulous third chapter...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I loved this memoir: it is a reminder that the most well-written or instructive memoirs are not always the ones written by "famous" people. I only picked up An Education because I LOVED the movie starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Saarsgard; although I was displeased at first that the plot of the movie is confined to perhaps only the first 30 or so pages of the book, the rest of the memoir is wonderful as well. It's a pleasure to read not only Lynn's great love story with her late husband, but to I loved this memoir: it is a reminder that the most well-written or instructive memoirs are not always the ones written by "famous" people. I only picked up An Education because I LOVED the movie starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Saarsgard; although I was displeased at first that the plot of the movie is confined to perhaps only the first 30 or so pages of the book, the rest of the memoir is wonderful as well. It's a pleasure to read not only Lynn's great love story with her late husband, but to read about her ascent in her journalism career ('70s to present). I see Lynn Barber as a new mentor of sorts. Highly, highly recommended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    I enjoyed this memoir, I like the author's style, I thought she was clever and funny and I enjoyed hearing about her work as a journalist. Her work experiences reminded me of Nora Ephron's as she recounted them in her memoirs, 'I Feel Bad About My Neck' and 'I Remember Nothing'. I thought Lynne Barber's experience with the older con artist was going to play an greater role in the memoir so I was a little disappointed that he's the focus of only one chapter. But the rest of her stories were fun and I enjoyed this memoir, I like the author's style, I thought she was clever and funny and I enjoyed hearing about her work as a journalist. Her work experiences reminded me of Nora Ephron's as she recounted them in her memoirs, 'I Feel Bad About My Neck' and 'I Remember Nothing'. I thought Lynne Barber's experience with the older con artist was going to play an greater role in the memoir so I was a little disappointed that he's the focus of only one chapter. But the rest of her stories were fun and interesting and I enjoyed listening along. Though I was a bit surprised by how she left us with her memories of her husband.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    2.5 I'd looked forward to reading this - there was quite a fuss when it came out about the teenage affair with the much older man. Plus it seemed that Barber had lived an interesting life. The Teenage Affair section was, to be honest, quite outstandingly dull. That's not to say that I was after salacious titbits, but for goodness sake. And could such a clever young girl (and we are constantly reminded just how clever she is) not have wondered sooner what on earth was going on with 'Simon'. Disappo 2.5 I'd looked forward to reading this - there was quite a fuss when it came out about the teenage affair with the much older man. Plus it seemed that Barber had lived an interesting life. The Teenage Affair section was, to be honest, quite outstandingly dull. That's not to say that I was after salacious titbits, but for goodness sake. And could such a clever young girl (and we are constantly reminded just how clever she is) not have wondered sooner what on earth was going on with 'Simon'. Disappointing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    4.3 stars This is not a novel. Lynn Barber actually lived this experience. The movie led me to the book. Carey Mulligan was so delightful in the film, playing the schoolgirl who turns into a sophisticated lover. As I recall, the film strayed a fair bit from the book, but that's not unusual.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Q: prettiest cover EVER?? after reading: good! and the section on which the movie was based is only 25 pages long.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    This was utterly fantastic. An Education is a wonderful memoir written by Lynn Barber, a journalist whose career led her to interesting people and places, and whose family led her to many important revelations about life and love. Chiefly, this memoir has gained recognition for the role it played as the jumping-off-point for Nick Hornby's screenplay for the film, An Education, but it deserves a great deal of fuss simply based on its own merit. Do not think that the movie encompasses the entire m This was utterly fantastic. An Education is a wonderful memoir written by Lynn Barber, a journalist whose career led her to interesting people and places, and whose family led her to many important revelations about life and love. Chiefly, this memoir has gained recognition for the role it played as the jumping-off-point for Nick Hornby's screenplay for the film, An Education, but it deserves a great deal of fuss simply based on its own merit. Do not think that the movie encompasses the entire memoir -- the film is based on a single chapter from Barber's life involving a relationship with an older man while she prepared to attend university. I admit that I saw the movie first, loved it, and became interested in reading the memoir as a result of that, but when a friend (a journalist who bears a striking resemblance to Carey Mulligan) praised the memoir with such enthusiasm, I knew it would be lovely. I did, however, make the mistake of starting to read this in the evening before bed... and then I looked up to find it was after 2am. This could very easily be a single-sitting read and I already have great plans to give this volume as a gift to several witty and intelligent women in my acquaintance. In my discussion of the book below, I might inadvertently give something away, but when it's a memoir, one can hardly call it a "spoiler." Besides, if you're reading this memoir, you should be reading it for the wonderful style of storytelling. I suppose one can point to her background in journalism for the fact that Barber was able to write such a short memoir with such substantial content and detail. She's able to focus in on the parts of her life that she feels are important without rambling... and without giving the impression that she's skipping anything as a means of glazing over it. She leaves the reader wanting more -- a true accomplishment, indeed, for a memoir. She quickly goes through her childhood and parents, pausing for some lengthier focus on her first significant relationship with an older man named Simon. Quite the charmer, he even wins over her parents with ease, never pushing Barber into anything and yet still making her feel like she was in his debt for first exposing her to the finer things in life. It helps that she also adores his glamorous friends, too. So she ignores his shady business deals and accepts the lack of information she receives about him, submitting to his infantile pet names and handing over her virginity when she reaches seventeen. When Simon proposes and her parents are delighted, noting that now she need not go to university, Barber feels betrayed by what feels like wasted years of education if this is all they wanted for her. What was the point of instilling such a respect for education and learning if she was going to make them just as happy by getting married? Ultimately, Simon turns out to be married already and even though Barber had to leave her school because of the engagement (coincidentally, at her school, they also believed there was no need for her to be both engaged and sitting for exams to enter university), she ultimately succeeds in her parents' original goal of having her attend Oxford University, but not without some cost... "an education," indeed. Once at Oxford, she embarks upon a hedonistic lifestyle, determined to do the minimal amount of work at school in favor of learning other things from life... which seems to be working decently well for her until she meets the man that she knows is The One from first glance. After finagling herself into sharing a house with him, she and David quickly become an item and eventually get married, having two daughters and creating a non-traditional but quite functional marriage. Details of her marriage and family life are pushed aside for discussion of her career, which one assumes was true in the living of the experience as well as the re-telling. Barber begins her career by proofreading and writing for Penthouse and despite many people asking if she was ashamed of working for a soft-core porn publication, Barber insists that she's quite proud of the experience and indebted to the people she worked with for showing her the ropes of the industry (publishing/journalism, not porn), allowing her to be part of a small publication and thus experience many different perspectives. Ultimately, she moved on to more mainstream journalism, but also penned two books that offered sex advice to women at a time when many such publications were focused a bit more on seductive undressing and married couples communing with each other. Her memoir covers her wide and varied career in journalism, relating just the perfect amount of witty stories to the point where one wishes there were more. She also discusses her brief experience as a stay-at-home mother and ultimately the narrative shifts to focus a great deal on her husband, whose health declines towards the end of the memoir. The book closes with his death and her coming to grips with her altered reality, touching upon the question as to whether we ever entirely know someone or if we can spend a lifetime with them and still remain a stranger. For Barber, this question comes up when she receives a photograph of David and believes that he must have been in love with the woman who look the picture -- instead of being furious at the idea of her deceased husband's wandering, she experiences a kind of relief for never being home enough or being a good enough wife. Ultimately, though, she comes to believe she was wrong about the question of David having an affair (at least with this particular photograph-taker) and Barber allows the reader to feel mixed emotions with this -- no doubt, the mixed emotions that she, herself, shared. While the story of Lynn Barber's life to date makes for a great read, its her writing style and her own charm that are the truly appealing points to this memoir. With a reputation for being a savage writer, it should come as no shock that her parents are not treated kid gloves, but then, she herself is subjected to the same treatment. She frankly offers up the fact that she is not at all what most people expect when they meet her, citing her elocution accent as her worst attribute. Her rise within the field is something she rather attributes to chance, but one can see that her writing style is extraordinary. She really gets to the heart of matters, be in analysis of someone else or herself. In the closing chapters surrounding her husband, she is honest in her own feelings of distaste at lingering at David's side in hospitals, opting not to paint herself as a dutiful pillar of wifely devotion. She also brings David under scrutiny, but at last one can see that she's being somewhat delicate there; clearly there was a great amount of love between the two, whatever other problems might have cropped up. Life is very real the way that Barber depicts it, without any attempt to dress it up or make false claims to spare the "innocent." People can become hypocrites without realizing it; time marches mercilessly on and somehow a loved one can grow old all of a sudden; money cannot solve everything and perhaps one would be happier without it. She's clearly had a very interesting career and I'm only sorry that it took a movie of her novel to bring her work to my attention. She certainly can stand as a bit of a mentor to any young journalists out there, even if the industry is always changing... her lessons on sticking to her own style and seeking out interesting colleagues are certainly timeless. The movie is a very different experience from the book, though a delight in its own right. I can't imagine a similar circumstance where I was as pleased with both book and movie but for very different reasons. That said, don't let the movie stand as a substitute -- this memoir is truly a gem.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie West

    Much of this book's appeal for me was that a number of the author's experiences and perceptions mirrored my own, following a similar path a decade later: elocution lessons, an isolated upbringing, the terrors of fitting in at school, breaking free from home, falling in love, setting up home in London and embarking on a career. Writing in a punchy, upbeat style, the author surveys the full span of her life with humour and more than a touch of irony. I was captivated by her account of her time at Much of this book's appeal for me was that a number of the author's experiences and perceptions mirrored my own, following a similar path a decade later: elocution lessons, an isolated upbringing, the terrors of fitting in at school, breaking free from home, falling in love, setting up home in London and embarking on a career. Writing in a punchy, upbeat style, the author surveys the full span of her life with humour and more than a touch of irony. I was captivated by her account of her time at Oxford where academic study firmly took second place behind the all important quest of discovering the opposite sex! It is as honest as it is shocking that the author admits to having calculatedly studied men and experimented with them in quantity. Strangely, it would be abhorrent if the roles were reversed and the narrator were male. In good fairy story tradition all the "research" culminates in the author meeting the love of her life. Away from the artificiality of Oxford undergraduate life she quickly recognises her need for a permanent stable relationship. She rationalises that all that is good in her husband to be compensates for all that is bad in her so there is a resolution of sorts. They set up home impecuniously and in bohemian fashion seemingly without a care in the world and from that point everything seems to fall into place. The main focus of the narrative then becomes the development of the author's career. This developes at breakneck speed from quite unpromising beginnings working with Penthouse magazine in its very early days. The author tells her story with scarcely a backwards glance seeming hardly to draw breath between adventures. Lynn Barber gives the impression that her career took off because she had a lucky break: the publication she went to work for enjoyed rapid success and she grew with it. But whether Penthouse succeeded because of Lynn Barber or Lynn Barber succeeded because of Penthouse is not made entirely clear. Certainly she does not appear to have planned her career in any conventional way and yet in time she became an award winning journalist and clearly enjoyed the fruits of her success. What is apparent is that the author enjoyed a happy and stable marriage. Not only was her husband in a complimentary occupation he was also more home based and more domestically inclined. This freed her to develop as a journalist and to travel. Although she hints at discomfort experienced during the six years or so that she took off to stay at home with her two young children, frustratingly she declines to go into any detail about how practically they coped during those years or indeed in the years that followed her return to full time journalism. This is a pity and a missed opportunity. Many readers will be left wondering just how it was done - what kind of support was required? Chapter 2 is the depiction of the relationship that springs up between the author in her late teens and a Jewish con man. It is the least credible section not least because the relationship was fostered and encouraged by the author's parents. And yet it is what inspired the book. We see the author as a teenager on the verge of rebellion keeping her parents in the dark. Simon is portrayed as a villain, lying, stealing, mounting an organised campaign to deflower a schoolgirl. The author was complicit for a considerable time before taking action. Pragmatically she enjoys the attention, the opportunities for travel, dining out and generally socialising and doesn't want to blow the the whistle. She is learning about life and seeing the world; she is dazzled by an exotic beautiful red head that she meets in Bedford Square but soon realises that her beauty outshines her intellect. When the truth is revealed, it is her parents that are diminished by the experience: their poor judgment encouraged the relationship. As a result the parents are blamed; they lose credibility and whatever parental control they had. Clearly this is no objective history. They are not allowed to learn from the experience in this narrative and we don't hear from them again until later when they are in their eighties. These parents were not much loved. The author, in contrast, emerges relatively unscathed, if anything honed for action in another arena: at Oxford she cynically continues to use people for her own ends for some time to come. At the dawn of the permissive age this was perhaps to become typical behaviour but the author in retrospect seems apologetic for the shallowness of these years. The bridge between home and university is awkward. Only her father's intervention persuades the headmistress to take her former star pupil back to take the Oxbridge entrance paper through the school. However, she was not permitted to attend the school again or to be taught by it. This is an nice, authentic historical touch. It shows that the author was considered a thoroughly bad influence but also that the values of the time were crushing and in need of updating. The end of this book is moving without being mawkish; it is honest. It well depicts the progression of the illness that was to kill the author's husband. Events close in. The action moves from the international career arena to the intimate everyday details. The author describes how other things are thrown into relief: after the diagnosis there is the mutual discovery in middle age that neither likes foreign travel; that the husband is showing signs of ageing; the snatched holidays to Cornwall prior to his operation conjure up flashbacks of their visits to Cornwall years before when they were young and energetic in the prime of life with two small children. To great effect the author's parents are brought back into the narrative, now in their eighties, living in comfortable retirement they represent a complication and a burden for the author, another thing to manage. They were successful in their way but it is the trappings of their success the author now begins to mourn, not their increasing infirmity: a source of comfort is stripped away from the author's grasp as she mourns the transformation of their idyllic country cottage garden (where she counted the fritillaries) as post sale, it is developed and "improved". Father in law features again, now transformed by the passage of time from powerful aristocratic man of influence that he was to the querulous old man he has become, alone and side lined by his son, who refuses to tell him of his illness. There is a dramatic change of perspective in the book as the young couple that set out on life together after a charmed youth themselves develop and mature, becoming powerful figures in their respective fields, yet vulnerable at the end. The image of them in the garden sipping champagne on the hot summer's evening before he goes into hospital to start the treatment is particularly poignant. There is a satisfying twist at the end when the photo used for the funeral order of service acquires a special significance. The author suspects the photo of her husband was taken by a lover that she was never aware of, and her belief in the love she believed they had shared wavers. In time however she learns there was no lover: that the one good photo of her late husband was simply taken innocently at a social gathering and sent to her by a well wisher. And so she recovers her belief in the life and love they had shared. This was a very enjoyable read. I found it interesting and moving. It shows that an education provides a starting point and opportunities, but that life itself completes the process. After reading this book I would very much like to meet Lynn Barber and to talk with her about her life.

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