Join author Lynn Barber for the discussion of our February Book of the Month.. AN EDUCATION (Tue 23 February 8pm)

(90 Posts)

Lynn Barber's memoir, An Education (27 votes), has won our February Book of the Month poll, beating Liz Jenson's The Rapture (25 votes) and Sabrina Broadbent's You Don't Have to Be Good (22 votes).

We'll gather here to discuss the book on Tuesday 23 February, 8-9.30pm.

We're hoping that Lynn will join us for part of the evening and answer questions - will keep you posted.

For those who missed it, here were February's Book of the Month choices (and for anyone new to Bookclub, here's how it works).

champagnesupernova Tue 23-Feb-10 20:06:56

Caroline Charles
Very lovely!
Did you decline the Oscars?

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:07:06

DutchOma: v close to daughters now and when they were growing up.

Sorry everyone, I crossed posts there. Lynn is here and currently typing as fast as possible.

Lynn, I’ve admired your writing for years. Your style is so crisp and clear. Was it strange to find yourself writing a book again, after years of newspapers? Would you ever write (or have you ever written) fiction?

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:08:22

ginghamgiraffe: David would have been embarrassed by publicity himself, but admired me for doing it.

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:09:57

Tilly: thanks for saying you admired my writing. I did once try to write a novel but realised fiction not my thing.

maryjane71 Tue 23-Feb-10 20:10:43

Generally the book is better than the film, is that the case here? Anyone read the book and seen the film, apart from Lynn?!

If you had taken Beatrix Miller’s offer of assistant to assistant travel editor at Vogue (rather than the Penthouse job), do you think your career would have been dramatically different?

champagnesupernova Tue 23-Feb-10 20:12:58

blush at no one having done both.

Emmmm Tue 23-Feb-10 20:13:48

Apologies - my computer was slow to load up, had the page ready and open since about 5 so hadn't seen your replies Lynn - loved the book - i guess partly because memoir my fave genre, partly cos good writing (not too frilly), but perhaps also could relate to much - you remind me of my mum - (born in same year) and the bit about reciting poetry was particularly something that rang home. I never learnt any poetry off by heart but my mum seems to know loads. Also my mum v keen for us daughters to be sexually liberated, have lots of partners before settling down etc believed best way of settling down with 'the one' was trying plenty out first!

BJN Tue 23-Feb-10 20:13:51

Hi, I couldn't put the book down, I read it compulsively. I was fascinated. I did feel sad and rather depressed about human love, and especially around the chapter about David's death. How unsentimental to the point of uncaring. I am sure I have misunderstood and that you were just projecting an image, not wanting to be the stereotypical wife yet again. But anyway, congratulations on your success.

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:14:19

champagnesupernova: not invited to Oscars, tho I gather I could have been if I had made a fuss. But hate flying to LA

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:15:45

Tilly - yes, and thank god I went to Penthouse rather than Vogue. I learned SO much at Penthouse

champagnesupernova Tue 23-Feb-10 20:15:53

BJN (and Lynn)
that's how I felt
I read it in an afternoon.
I did feel sad and sort of empty at the end.

maryjane71 Tue 23-Feb-10 20:17:14

I finished reading the book last week and had no idea it had been made into a film. It just sounded interesting - and it was. Hope to see the film soon. Is it 'based' on the book Lynn or the real full story?

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:18:30

Emm: like the sound of your mum. but you should learn poetry - just not the rubbish I learned!

Just flagging up earlier questions from GeraldineMumsnet:

There seems to be a big nostalgia-fest for the late 50s/early 60s going on culturally at the moment (An Education, A Single Man, Mad Men etc). Do you share that nostalgia?

And what book had the most profound effect on you as a child?

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:20:29

BJN. thanks for your congrats, but you shouldnt think unsentimental is the same as uncaring. To me, sentimental just means shallow.

Emmmm Tue 23-Feb-10 20:21:56

but is there some accomplishment/useful discipline in itself in being able to recite poetry even if rubbish? Do you think there were aspects in your own education that we have lost today or do you think education is generally better today - more purposeful/practical or is it just a case that education is fitting for our times?

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:22:22

Maryjane: glad you read the book first. the film is based on the 2nd chapter only, about my affair with conman

LynnBarber Tue 23-Feb-10 20:25:05

Tilly and Geraldine: yeah, there does seem to be big early 60s nostalgia and I welcome it because for me it was the period when everything changed.
Book that influenced me as a child was Vanity Fair

I found the chapter on David's illness and death extremely affecting, mostly because it shows how surreal life becomes when our bodies deteriorate, and how one's personality becomes kidnapped by these physical processes. I think I saw it as honest rather than uncaring.

Has your experience of terminal illness and death changed your perspective when you interview your subjects? Do you see humanity differently?

champagnesupernova Tue 23-Feb-10 20:26:04

Sorry more mildly showbizzy q's - even though I've not seen the film.
Was it WEIRD watching this interpretation of your life onscreen?

What's been the best and/or coollest thing to come out of having got everything down on paper and now celluloid (iykwim)?

I think I read somewhere you were anxious about the way you portrayed your parents.

maryjane71 Tue 23-Feb-10 20:27:02

Lynn, I thought you were being practical and wailing wouldn't have changed the situation, nobody can say how a spouse should react to the demise of their loved one. Everyone copes in their own way.

SuSylvester Tue 23-Feb-10 20:27:30

My mum says that West Yorkshire was not swinging in the 60s. grin
was it only London?

BJN Tue 23-Feb-10 20:27:38

I would never have thought of sentimental as shallow. Do you feel that marriage is a sentimental act? I have sentimental moments looking back when I dated my husband but is that shallow? It doesn't feel it.

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