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An Uncommon Education: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 1, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2012: A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee for her stories, Elizabeth Percer brings the clarity and sophistication of the short form into her affecting debut novel about a young woman with lessons to learn. When we meet Naomi Feinstein in childhood, she has clumsy if loving parents, an eccentric best friend, and few social graces. Her photographic memory and intense ambition help Naomi chart a path to her dream school, but the relationships she builds there turn out to have far more resonance than the education she imagined. On a campus full of women with strengths and foibles as complicated as her own, she learns when to trust (and distrust) her instincts about both academia and other human beings. Percer’s gift lies in making Naomi--and her family, friends, and lovers--utterly, absorbingly real. An Uncommon Education feels like the kind of all-night conversation that breaks your heart when it ends. --Mia Lipman


“Enticing and shyly perceptive.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Think Dead Poet’s Society or The Secret History.” (New York Post)

“A fine novel and a young writer to watch.” (Hudson Valley News)

“[Naomi demonstrates] how to make the kinds of choices that eventually lead to an uncommon but joy-filled life.” (Oprah.com)

“Three-time Pushcart nominee Percer offers an uncommonly good debut that’s finely detailed and emotionally gripping while avoiding every pitfall of the standard coming-of-age tale. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Poet Percer’s fiction debut is an intimate portrait of an intelligent, tender girl with a deep wish to protect those she loves.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A moving and bittersweet coming-of-age story about love, loss, friendship, ambition, and the power of memory. This complex and satisfying tale introduces a cast of quirky, hilarious, intellectual young women, struggling to find their place in the world.” (J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Maine and Commencement)

“Bonds of love, family and friendship, sometimes damaged or beyond repair, are nevertheless celebrated in an intense debut by a noted poet. . . . [A] thoughtful coming-of-age tale that hovers observantly on the edge of melancholia.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A wistful debut novel by noted Bay Area poet.” (San Jose Mercury News)

“Percer’s lyrical novel has much to offer.” (Booklist)

“Eloquent, haunting and exquisitely written, Percer’s stunning debut finds surprising beauty in the broken places of our lives. Here, winning can’t mute pain, but love endures despite the odds, and the education of a remarkable young woman is as uncommonly original as this novel itself.” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You)

“Haunting and poignant, Elizabeth Percer’s coming-of-age novel portrays a bright young woman confronting her limits as she watches those she loves deal with illness and betrayal. Each turn of this elegiac debut revealed stark truths that left me both moved and astonished.” (Lauren Belfer, New York Times bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light)

“It’s impossible not to care about Naomi Feinstein . . . An Uncommon Education beautifully [brings] Naomi to the Bard (the play’s the thing), but also gives the reader something much rarer--a world, and a life, that seem real.” (Nicole Mones, author of Lost in Translation and The Last Chinese Chef)

“Elizabeth Percer relates the life story of Naomi Feinstein with beautifully scripted, lush prose drawing in the reader and providing an unobstructed view deep into the hearts of her characters. . . . Rich in history, steeped in family tradition, and full of emotion--a lesson in practiced elegance.” (New York Journal of Books)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062110969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062110961
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,356,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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