My Education Summary & Study Guide

Choi, Susan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of My Education.
This section contains 655 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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My Education Summary & Study Guide Description

My Education Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on My Education by Choi, Susan .

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Choi, Susan. My Education. Viking – The Penguin Group. New York, 2013. In first person narration, grad student Regina Gottlieb describes her first adult love affair, her first real friendship, and her first real lessons about life. In the rich vocabulary of an English major who is trying to be impressive, her story of drama and desire plays out against the backdrop of a small university town.

The narrative begins as Regina begins her first year of graduate studies at an unnamed university, in a relatively small community that also goes unnamed (it is, however, identified as being in the north-eastern United States, within a few hours’ drive of New York City). Regina’s story begins with her encountering both the unsavory reputation and sexual charisma of English professor Nicholas Brodeur. Even though she hears of his tendency towards seducing students, she is so sexually attracted to him that she enrolls in his classes solely with the aim of speaking with him, which she eventually does, feeling sexual tension between them. At the same time, she has a sexual relationship with her eccentric, highly intelligent roommate Dutra.

One night at a dinner party hosted by Brodeur and his wife Martha (a fellow professor at the university and mother to their recently born son, Joachim), Regina gets drunk and, in the aftermath of vomiting in Brodeur’s bathroom, gets Martha alone. The sexual tension between the two women is even stronger than that between Regina and Brodeur, and they soon begin an intense, dramatic affair, with Regina falling deeply and demandingly in love.

As the affair deepens, the relationship between Martha and Brodeur deteriorates, with Martha insisting that the two situations are not related and Regina insisting that they are. Regina also becomes increasingly demanding of Martha’s time and attention, their disagreements over what is appropriate for them to do together leading to increasingly intense arguments that, in turn, resolve in similarly intense lovemaking. Brodeur and Martha separate, sharing custody of their son; and Dutra and Martha develop an intense friendship.

Eventually, Martha agrees to take Regina with her as her date to an important social function at the university. Regina prepares somewhat obsessively, becoming increasingly upset as Martha becomes increasingly late. Eventually Dutra appears, tearfully confessing that he and Martha had sex together. He leaves after a violent confrontation with Regina, who listens in silence as Martha also arrives and confesses what happened. At that moment, the relationship essentially ends, with Regina, in its aftermath, drowning her sorrows in alcohol.

One drunken night, an accident leaves Regina with a concussion, aggravating it with binge drinking when she encounters Brodeur at a club. He takes her home with him to make sure she is all right, and the two of them spend a couple of weeks taking care of each other in the aftermaths of their respective breakups with Martha. Eventually, their time together comes to an end, and Regina moves away.

The second part of the novel takes place 15 years later. Regina has become a successful novelist, has married, and had a child. Dutra comes into and out of her life, finally departing (after a breakdown in his brief, spontaneous marriage) for the West Coast. Later, however, he comes back into her life unexpectedly, as does Brodeur. In the latter case, their re-connection is amicable and temporary; in Dutra’s case, the friendship reconstructs itself. Regina also has an unexpected opportunity to reconnect with Martha. She flies west to visit them both, almost immediately having sex with Martha and just as immediately, falling into an old bantering style of conversation with Dutra. Unbeknownst to both of them, Regina puts together a plan to bring them together, engineering their meeting in a restaurant and then leaving them to their conversation without interrupting, flying back home to her husband and son.

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