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The Education of Sebastian (Volume 1) Paperback – January 16, 2014
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"There was swoon, angst, romance and heart ache. I connected with the characters, and I enjoyed the flow of the writing style" Aestas Book Blog "Jane Harvey-Berrick delivers another mesmerizing story that still has us aching for these star crossed lovers" Scandalicious Book Reviews --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Jane Harvey-Berrick has written a number of contemporary romances for adults. 'The Education of Sebastian' is probably her most controversial so far.
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Top Customer Reviews
A teenager who has never experienced real parental love or care is primed for sexual exploitation. It's very hard for me to feel good about an adult taking advantage of a person in that situation, even if they do convince themselves that the feelings are mutual.
Caroline is a 30-year-old married woman who has difficulty standing up for herself. As a result, she is in a loveless marriage. Her husband is less a fully realized character than a walking collection of personality traits to justify Caroline's decision to cheat on him. When they relocate to San Diego, where they lived early in their marriage, she reconnects with Sebastian. She initially befriended him when he was eight. His parents never demonstrated much love and affection and so the time he spend with Caroline meant a great deal to him. It's obvious that he is emotionally fragile and desperate for affection.
His desperation for affection is what ultimately formed the barrier that kept me from accepting this as a sweet story of forbidden love. To make it worse, Caroline should know better -- because she entered her marriage at a young age in order to escape her mother's cruelty. Having been there herself, she is still willing to exploit Sebastian.
She did seem emotionally stunted and she didn't seem like a bad person as much as she seemed thoughtless and selfish. The reviews that raved about Sebastian as a "book boyfriend" really made me cringe. What reaction would a book with this plot -- but with a unloved seventeen-year-old woman and a thirty-year-old man--receive? In that moment where Sebastian was in front of Caroline, and she realized that he was being physically abused, if she cared for him, she had an obligation to help him (I would argue that even if she didn't care for him, we do have an obligation to help minors who are subject to parental abuse). But instead she took him to bed.
Well, I don't have to like a main character or approve of their decisions in order to enjoy a book. That would make the world of fiction pretty dull. But given that the book is told from Caroline's POV and it's a romance, there seems to be a tacit acceptance of her choices embedded in the novel itself. This could still work, but I also felt that the primary antagonists (Caroline's husband and Sebastian's parents) were just too nasty to be believable. They exist to validate the choices made by Caroline. There are two types of secondary characters in this novel -- those who do terrible things with insufficient motivation (the husband, parents, Sebastian's ex, even Caroline's editor) and people who provide love and support to Caroline no matter what she does (Donna, for example). This lack of realism kept me from enjoying the novel.
The problems I'm reading in the reviews have to do with the subject matter, but oddly, that isn't what bothered me. I wish so much I could have finished it and I'm dying to know how their story goes, but the speed is killer and as much as I want my money's worth, life is just too short to force myself through something I can't concentrate on.