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Schooled Hardcover – August 5, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lakhani paints a darkly comic picture of what a five-figure tuition bill really gets you at an elite Manhattan private school. The former Dalton English teacher knows the territory, and it is bleak. Here's Anna, a newbie teacher with Ivy credentials whose passion for the low-paying teaching profession is cause for celebration at the upper-crust Langdon school, where as the exotic-looking newcomer, she is mistakenly identified as a coveted minority hire. With low pay and even lower expectations from teachers and parents, Anna realizes there's no way she can survive—until she learns about lucrative after-school tutoring gigs. And just like that, Anna's ideals go out the window. In a hilarious out-of-control spiral into obsession with all-things designer, expensive and showy, Anna transforms into someone who believes money can buy everything and everyone. There is redemption, of course, in the form of a teacher who bucks the system, and Anna discovers some of her students are pretty wonderful. The realization comes rather abruptly, and the happy ending is a bit pat, but the romp through an unsettling, soulless world of adults and children who'd rather coast through life than live it provides plenty of laughs. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Schooled isn't only a novel. . . It's a piece of sociology."―The Wall Street Journal

"Sharply observed debut."―People Magazine

"Witty, entertaining, and all together tantalizing."―Town & Country

"Biting teach and tell debut."―Redbook Magazine

"Utterly terrifying and delicious. I inhaled this novel in hours."―Jane Green

"Schooled easily finds itself to the head of the class."―Miami Herald

"By turns dishy, delightful, and hilarious, Anisha Lakhani's debut novel is also a biting teach and tell. Required reading!"―Claire Cook, author of Summer Blowout, Life's a Beach and Must Love Dogs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401322875
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401322878
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,370,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Geoffrey Kleinman VINE VOICE on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Schooled is another mis-adventure with the uber-rich in the upper east side of New York. Reading a lot like The Nanny Diaries: A Novel meets The Devil Wears Prada, Schooled follows the first year of a new private school teacher as she becomes indoctrinated into the world of the obscenely rich and influential. Anisha Lakhani writing is extremely readable and her main character, Anna Taggert, is very likable. Even when Anna missteps you root for her.

Unfortunately Anna's character arch is extremely predictable and the ultimate climax of the book is fairly abrupt and not extremely climatic. What's missing from Schooled is any real depth, rather than digging deeper into the lives of Anna's students, Lakhani seems more interested in long descriptions of Anna's binge brand shopping and the Channel Bag or Prada Shoes she buys. Despite its flaws Schooled still delivers on some level, I found myself interested in following Anna's journey, even though I knew pretty well where it would turn out.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Schooled is that it has the nugget of a gem of a really good book, Lakhani has a great set-up, really likable characters and an engaging writing styles, she just never digs deep enough to pull out its true potential. Still, if you're looking for a light summer read and were a huge fan of The Nanny Diaries: A Novel you could do much worse than Schooled.
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Format: Hardcover
I was in Anisha Lakhani's 7th grade English class several years ago; I was a nerdy, awkward bookworm who hung out with the other intellectual, uncool kids. We did our own homework, we were not all white, we certainly were not all wealthy, and we were basically ignored while Mrs. Lakhani chatted with the "A-Group" (we didn't call them popular, because no one really liked them) about clothes and makeup.

The portrayal of every child in this book (with the exception of one who is from Westchester) as a bratty, rich "cruiser" is offensive and smacks of hypocrisy. There definitely were a few bad eggs, the types who did have bar and bat mitzvahs at the Pierre, and it was at those parties that you could always spot Anisha Lakhani, hobnobbing with the parents she supposedly hates so much.

The fact that Mrs. Lakhani herself is one of the fashion obsessed social climbers she attempts to skewer in "Schooled" may be what keeps her protagonist, Anna Taggert, so one-dimensional and unsympathetic. She makes constant justifications for her own repellant behavior, but is judgmental of others. She claims to have been a good girl who "had never done a drug in my life" and knows nothing about fashion or labels, but recounts drunken nights as a freshman in Delta Gamma at Columbia. Which is about as believable as Miley Cyrus having been a relevant part of pop culture in the year 2005, when the book is set, and her only credits were two lines in Big Fish and one episode of her father's sitcom.

But over all, I found the quality of the writing to be the worst thing about this book -- yes, even worse than the cultural anachronisms, the lack of character exposition, and how downright obnoxious the thing is. I spent $23.95 on what reads like a first draft.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is truly appalling. I don't so much want to review it as flunk it. This novel desperately needs way more Maxwell Perkins and way less Mickey Mouse, because its pop-culture hipness pretty much guarantees it a shorter shelf life than lettuce. I don't like doling out one-star reviews flippantly, but this book is so unsatisfying, so banal, that I only wish I could give it no stars.

Our heroine, Anna Taggart, whose life and appearance bear an uncanny resemblance to our author, decides to become a private school teacher out of good old-fashioned altruism. But like numerous doe-eyed teachers before her, she abruptly discovers that the hours are bad, the pay is a feeble joke, and the parents would be happy to crucify her. That is, until she discovers the money tree that is being a private tutor to the children of the obscenely rich.

This book takes a story that arguably deserves to be told, tries to put a "Sex and the City" veneer on it, gilds her narrative with a sort of dark humor, and puts it into a slickly arranged package. Which is nice, except the actual book reads like the author sent her first draft to the publisher with nary a proofread, and the publisher was too cheap to assign her a copy checker.

The narrative is drenched in adjectives and adverbs, a sure sign of an inexperienced writer. Moreover, she doesn't appear to trust us enough to give us a measured narrator with sufficient perspective on her subject. Witness this quote from page 4: "The look on my father's face was clear: I had gone too far." But what was that look? Pinched lips, melodramatic eye rolls, stony silence? I don't know.
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Format: Paperback
I was stuck on a beach vacation with nothing to read but this book... that's the ONLY reason I finished it! I loved the first chapter, and was looking forward to a fun read that I borrowed from my friend's younger sister who warned me she got bored of the book and didn't read past the first few chapters... soon enough, I understood why. The main character of the book was so petty and hateful, you really don't sympathize with her at all through reading the novel, and you mostly think she is just shallow and pitiful. The weird part is, she isn't really meant to be. At the end of the story, you're supposed to believe that she realizes the error of her ways and goes back to what she was at the start of the book (and her career). Then again, this is the same character who in the beginning lives off her "best friend", all the while trying to stay out of her face, feeling rejected when her friend has "a thing" to go to rather than babysit her, and has some crazy desire for the girl to confide in her that she does indeed, hate her well paying i-banking job. This is the person you see her go BACK to being.. you can only imagine how pathetic she really gets.

While scrolling through the reviews, I came across a reviewer who actually had been in the authors' class, and I was completely not surprised to see what they had to say about her. While the reviewers are supposed to stick to reviewing the book, and not give their own personal vendettas a voice, it was interesting to read what this particular reviewer had to say, given they were taught by the author in her seventh grade English class- which is the setting of her book. What is disturbing is to see posts put up by the author (and later deleted) in response to the criticism, using her maiden name!
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