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An EducationReview - An Education
by Lynn Barber
Blackstone, 2010
Review by Christian Perring
Apr 27th 2010 (Volume 14, Issue 17)

Lynn Barber's memoir tells of her life growing up London, her affair with a man much older than herself when she was 16, her job at Penthouse magazine in its early days, her career as an interviewer for a variety of Sunday newspapers, and her marriage.  As a practiced newspaper writer, she has a great talent for sketching a scene vividly yet with economy.  She describes her middle class home with her lawyer father and her mother who taught elocution and then became a school teacher.  Her description of the vocal exercises her mother made her clients practice, at the start of the book, is especially good.  Her relationship with her parents is somewhat distant, and her when she starts dating a man in his thirties or possibly his forties, they don't seem to be concerned and even encourage her to go away with him over the weekends.  Eventually the relationship did not work out, and she never seems very interested in him.  Her account of her relationship with him was used as the basis for the recent movie An Education; it is a dramatic story not just because of their age difference but because he was a con man and petty criminal.  It is especially striking that she maintained some power in the relationship, and although they were together for over a year, she rarely had sex with him.  One gets the sense to some extent she was using him for entertainment.  When later in life she married, she had a wonderful relationship with her husband and they had a very happy marriage with two children.  Her career as a journalist will mostly be of interest to readers familiar with her interviews, although her days at Penthouse also give a glimpse into the early days of the widely commercial pornography industry.  This is an entertaining and occasionally touching short memoir.  The performance by Carolyn Seymour is assured and pleasant, making for a very easy listen.

 

© 2010 Christian Perring        

 

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York

 


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