The title refers to LBs affair with the older, glamorous Simon. She accepts a lift from him as a 16 year old schoolgirl and for the next two years leads a double life of week day Oxbridge candidate schoolgirl and weekend sophisticate frequenting restaurants, parties and foreign cities.
The affair ends after a marriage proposal and the realisation that Simon is a conman, philanderer and married to boot. An education refers both to her education into the duplicity of adult relationships and how her stellar academic achievements had in no way equipped her to deal with this.
LB admits herself she is an unreliable memoirist. She is also unflinching and unsentimental. There are times when this makes for painful reading. Her descriptions of her parents lower middle class social pretentions shows no mercy and there seems little forgiveness for them being as duped by Simon as she was. Especially their willingness to dump their collective Oxford dream in lieu of a "good"; match, but this was the early 60's, the days when matrimony trumped all other forms of aspiration.
The middle section of the book is a romp through her days as a Penthouse reporter to her time on the Express and finally as the doyenne of the celebrity interview as she is known today. The final section is again a change in tone. It's about her marriage and the subsequent swift and tragic death of her husband David. She refers to David as being a good man and how his goodness is infectious. How someone can make you better than you are. The love of her children and husband is clear and touching.
But it is the mixture of candour, snobbery, flashes of humility and period detail that makes this book so interesting. There are no notes of triumphalism. It's about how events and mistakes in your youth can haunt you. It's a memoir by a clever and funny woman about sex, love, relationships and family. About what we think we know. It is an education.