Adventures in Reading

Fiction: Schooled by Anisha Lakhani, 2008
June 2, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: book reviews, fiction | Tags: , ,

Despite my recent and ridiculous failure with James Patterson’s Sundays at Tiffany’s, I still could not resist the temptation of an easy pleasure read in the world of popular literature. I found an advanced reading copy of Anisha Lakhani’s Schooled and decided why not? Schooled is the story of Anna Taggert a recent Columbia graduate who opts for a fulfilling career as a middle school teacher rather than pursue a less satisfying mega-money job. She lands a job at a prestigious and private school in Manhattan but quickly finds disappointment resulting from obsolete pay and pushy mothers. Soon after she begins teaching Anna finds herself invited into a world of “tutoring” where Ivy educated graduates do children’s homework and projects for some hefty financial rewards.

I admit that up through the first quarter of Schooled I found it somewhat nauseating and superfluous. The story began to read like an adult landing in the middle of the world of the Gossip Girls. I found Anna Taggert to be oblivious and shallow when it came to her surroundings and above all actually being a teacher. The book is littered with errant remarks from her paranoid, conservative and Republican parents as they criticize Anna for her decision. It is all meant to be humorous and poking fun but I had to roll my eyes.

And then the part of me that loves caramel lattes even though I know coffee isn’t really good for me and the price certainly isn’t and the part of me that drove me to watching a 48-hour marathon of The Real Housewives of the O.C. said: Get off of your high horse. And then I quickly found myself really starting to enjoy this book.

No, Lakhani is not attempting a great capital “L” Literary piece with Schooled, but she has created a charming and entertaining book about Anna Taggert’s reality shock when it comes to life after college, teaching and herself. Not that the book is all fluff, Lakhani teases about “irresistible” reasoning persuading people to act against their beliefs and how difficult it can be to instruct students in an age of increasingly hyped up technology. Much of the cushioning of Schooled is provided through Taggert’s growing attraction to fashion and what becomes a year of shopping sprees thanks to her tutoring money.

Schooled is well-written and I had fun reading it. I’m even looking forward to hearing about Lakhani’s future works.

And another review from Jenn’s Bookshelf, S. Krishna’s Books, Presenting Lenore, Book Zombie.



“Soon after she begins teaching Anna finds herself invited into a world of “tutoring” where Ivy educated graduates do children’s homework and projects for some hefty financial rewards.”

I will have to tell my good friend about this, as he actually *is* a “tutor” to a gazillionaire’s son in Florence, Italy. If your description of the character’s private teaching job is accurate (I have no doubts that it is), then Lakhani’s portrayal actually sounds spot-on.

Comment by Claire C. Cake

Claire: That is fabulous. When reading the book I kept wondering how likely it would/could be. I know in college it’s fairly rampant to pay people to write papers (even had a few requests myself) but I never imagined a “tutoring” world for junior high and high school students. Things will never cease to amaze me.

Comment by bookchronicle

Thank you for reviewing my book – it’s my first one, and you are my first blog review. All my best, Anisha

Comment by Anisha Lakhani

Anisha Lakhani: Thanks for the comment. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and look forward to recommending once it’s available to the public!

Comment by bookchronicle

I just read the ARC copy of Schooled, too (got it at BEA this year) and I really enjoyed it, like you did. I also found it charming, especially because it’s chick-lit, but doesn’t focus on the same old story of a girl working in PR who can’t find a husband.

Thing is, then I started doing some research on the author and found a bunch of posts from her students who were appalled at her book (well, I guess they would be) and said that she STILL tutors after having left her teaching job, and that they were amazed that she could write such a tell-all when she’s still participating in that world.

So now I don’t know what to think. It’s a nice book, but has left a bad taste in my mouth now that I suspect the author didn’t have the same epiphany as the character her book.

Comment by heather

Heather: That is crazy! As soon as I read your comment I started a Google search and there’s already a ton of stuff out on this. I definitely don’t know what to think now myself, but I’ll give myself a few days to digest this.

Comment by bookchronicle

Hi ladies – thanks as always for reading. I’m certainly not Anna, my character, but I promise you I do not tutor anymore. Can’t help what the kids are saying – the internet is a scary place to be sure – but did want to set the record straight, especially since bookchronicle gave such an honest and kind review.

All my best,

Comment by Anisha Lakhani

[…] Lakhani: The delightful author of the novelSchooled, I was the first (says the author) blogger to comment on her novel. It was a novel I started with doubts but concluded as I hurridly turned the pages to find out what […]

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[…] a bit of a surprise as I read some really great books in May, but I have to say one of the best was Anisha Lakhani’s Schooled, which if not available yet will be out for public consumption over the next few weeks. I typically […]

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