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An Education: The Screenplay Paperback – October 6, 2009

3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review



About the Author

Nick Hornby is the author of six internationally bestselling novels (High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to be Good, A Long Way Down, Slam and Juliet, Naked) and several works of  non-fiction including Fever Pitch, Songbook and Ten Years In The Tub, a collection of his 'Stuff I've Been Reading' columns from the Believer.  His screenplay for the film An Education was nominated for an Academy Award. He lives in Highbury, north London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Original edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594484538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594484537
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,248,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By M. M. Hauenstein on January 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay for the movie and this is what is being sold on Amazon. The book by Lynn Barber is not being published in the U.S. until 2010. Both are titled "An Education." I heard an interview with Ms. Barber and she said there are differences between the screenplay and the book, although she approved the changes to make adjustments for the movie audience.
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Format: Paperback
Jenny wants to be anything but ordinary. In this coming-of-age story, she dreams of a world full of music and dance, while in reality she's stuck in 1960s suburban London. That is until David, an older man, walks into her life and takes her on a whirlwind of a journey, where she loses not just her innocence but a bit of herself at the same time. Hornby's script is excellent, truly showing a middle-class London from yesteryear and wonderfully drawn characters inhabiting the streets. The characters are vivid and interesting, always with a motive. And the diary, which is included with the script, offers an interesting inside look at not just the writing process, but the creation of the film.
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Format: Paperback
The picture on the back of Nick Hornby's An Education contextualizes the central fight, for me, of the screenplay. David, Jenny, and Jenny's parents are standing in their living room. David is looking at Jack with soft yet deliberate charm. Jack is looking at David with a father's evaluation. Jenny is looking at her father uncertain, but surprised, about what's happening. Jenny's mom is looking at David, smitten. Which man is the right man: David, with his savoir faire, or the sensible, fatherly, Jack?

David's character is understandably attractive to Jenny: he has a sports car, knows the best night clubs, goes to art auctions, takes trips to Paris, and uses charm instead of hesitation. Jenny's dad is, well, her dad.

David's image is largely from the trappings of wealth, and the screenplay lends itself to an argument about a man's character and the source of his money, but I don't think it's a good one. There're certainly ethical issues: some theft, and real estate deals taking advantage of buyers who don't know any better. But a person can make money in questionable ways and be tortured by it. David's not tortured, though he's not a villain, either.

Hornby based this screenplay off a short story memoir. It's invention on top on invention on top of a real story, then. Jack and David were deliberately created for the screen, and they seem to characterize William James's self esteem equation. James says a person's self esteem is accomplishments divided by pretenses. A person can increase her self esteem by increasing her accomplishments; though, he argues, it's easier to do so by decreasing pretension. David seems to have that ratio backward: his self esteem comes from pretense.

And that's probably because he doesn't care about anything.
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The Introduction and Sundance Diary gives an excellent example of what it takes to write a screenplay, get a movie made and anticipate it's premier. And the film itself is an good example of an age-discrepant relationship. I highly recommend that you at least read the Introduction and Sundance Diary if you desire to write and sell a screenplay.

Katie
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Format: Paperback
Nick Hornby's adaptation of Lynn Barber's memoir is beautifully written, and I think it will probably win best adapted screenplay this year. This publication of the screenplay also includes two extra essays by Hornby about the making of the film, and showing it at Sundance which are welcome.

I wish though that we had gotten a slightly less polished draft. It fits so closely to what is in the actual movie that I have a feeling it was retrofitted a little for publication, which is nice for those who just want a transcription of the movie, but for those more interested in the transition from page to screen and the changes that need to be made it may be a little slight (the addition of an alternate ending notwithstanding). Still it is a masterful screenplay of one of the year's best movies.
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Format: Paperback
In a whirlwind tour of expanding horizons, the plot suspense centers around the question: Will she wreck her life, and just how badly?

I give this screenplay-book 5 stars, for 3 reasons:

(1) the spot-on description of a teenage girl (Jenny) getting to know people who are exciting, glamorous, and worldly and who have different values and ethics than her family. She is not honest when discussing them with her parents, and not entirely honest with herself.

(2) Although very entertaining, there are some major life lessons in this book, some more subtle than others. Because of this, it seems a good gift for teen girls, although I know some women in their 40's who still haven't figured out some of the lessons. As a gift idea for teen girls, be aware that it frankly discusses some topics, and some parents may object to that.

(3) The writing is much better quality than most screenplays (although that is faint praise, because most screenplays are so bad).

Reading this took me back in time to my teen years; I remember having many of the same thoughts and attitudes as Jenny. There but for the grace of God ...

A quote from Hornby that describes Lynn Barber (and Jenny) as "a suburban girl who's frightened that she's going to get cut out of everything good that happens in the city".

This book is set in the 1960's in a household that seems conservative today. Younger readers may be surprised by the parents' attitude towards young marriage, and the widespread expectation that respectable married women would not have careers or educational goals.

This book is inspired by a memoir by Lynn Barber, reworked by Nick Hornby into a screenplay version, with some fictionalized details. I have not yet read the complete memoir by Lynn Barber, but plan to.
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