A Review of Schooled

As I mentioned yesterday, the first book I read on my trip was Schooled by Anisha Lakhani from my mom’s list. It’s a quick read, and I managed to get through a good chunk of it on the 6.5 hour flight to Paris.

Anisha’s website describes the book as:

A delicious debut based on the author’s experiences as a tutor while teaching at one of Manhattan’s top private schools, Schooled presents a shocking picture of an underground economy that is altering the landscape of education in every way. This dazzling exposé lays bare the tutoring industry in a way only an insider can. Welcome to Schooled, where even homework has a price.

The main character Anna Taggert graduates Columbia and decides to go into teaching, despite her parents concerns about the lack of money in the profession. She starts at a ritzy private school, ready to mold the minds of children. However, things don’t go well when her creative lessons plans are protested by parents upset about the work load, she realizes her students are turning in work done by their expensive tutors, and living on her meager salary isn’t what she thought it would be. Soon she is lured into the lucrative world of tutoring herself. As she amasses clients, she also amasses designer bags and clothes. Her time becomes consumed with tutoring and shopping with her tutoring money.

The book is certainly entertaining. Stories of the rich and famous are salacious and fascinating. At times, Schooled seems part Gossip Girl, part Nanny Diaries, and part Testimony. The problem is, that because of this, the story sounded familiar… a little too familiar. While I’m pretty sure I’ve never read this book before, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had. It was somewhat predictable and didn’t seem to bring anything new or fresh to the topic. Of course, it kept my attention and made the endless airport/airplane hours go by more quickly, so I can’t complain. I enjoyed the plot even if it didn’t exactly surprise me.

With all that being said, I’m not sure how Schooled will do as a book club pick. We will probably talk about what each of us would do in that situation and how money can corrupt, but beyond that we may struggle for thoughtful discussion. But I could be wrong, and we could find plenty to analyze. And if I’m not? I guess I like talking about shopping too…

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