Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"An Uncommon Education"

Elizabeth Percer is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and has twice been honored by the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation. She received a BA in English from Wellesley and a PhD in arts education from Stanford University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship for the National Writing Project at UC Berkeley. She lives in California with her husband and three children. An Uncommon Education is her first novel.

Percer applied the Page 69 Test to An Uncommon Education, her first novel, and reported the following:
I think one way I perceive my job as a novelist is to portray how people evolve over time. In that vein, I think that no one page should be representative of the book as a whole. The novel, in my mind, is a piece of writing that is perhaps most notable in its ability to capture the slow, creeping significance of real change. So, no, I am happy to report that I don't think page 69 is representative of the book as a whole, though it does touch on one of its themes. Namely, the theme of extreme reactions (both positive and negative) to others' unhappiness. On page 69 of An Uncommon Education, the children react to Teddy's mother's poisonous disapproval by escaping into the woods for an afternoon of ecstatic play, while her husband sticks to her side, "defer(ing) to her misery." I think we tend to underestimate the motivating power of discontent, and I've tried to play with that idea in several ways throughout the novel.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth Percer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue