An Uncommon Education: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

As a graduate of Wellesley, class of 1952, I looked forward with great anticipation to this debut novel by a graduate from 1996. I was not disappointed: this is a poignant, insightful, beautifully written story about a young woman learning that she can’t always save the ones she loves, and also learning to be herself. 

The novel begins in Brookline, but much of it takes place on the Wellesley campus. When Naomi joins Shakespeare Society, her life takes on some real challenges.

— Liz Whaley


For fans of Prep, Dead Poets Society, and Special Topics in Calamity Physics comes an elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut, in which a young woman’s serendipitous discovery of her college’s underground Shakespeare Society leads to an unforgettable series of transformations. When Naomi finds herself among “the Shakes” at Wellesley, she finally lets herself embrace the passionate inner self she’s always kept locked away. But when a sudden scandal unfolds, she will be forced to learn the limits of the relationships that have sustained her. An intimate and enthralling narrative, Elizabeth Percer’s debut novel An Uncommon Education marks the emergence of a stunning new literary talent.

Praise For…

“Enticing and shyly perceptive.”

“Think Dead Poet’s Society or The Secret History.”

“A fine novel and a young writer to watch.”

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

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“A wistful debut novel by noted Bay Area poet.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062110978
ISBN-10: 0062110977
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Pages: 368
Language: English
Series: P.S.