Fresh out of college, Anna Taggert gets a job as a seventh-grade English teacher at Langdon Hall, one of the most prestigious private schools in Manhattan. Anna begins her career with starry-eyed enthusiasm, eager to teach her young pupils to love reading and literature as she does. But she finds it hard to connect with the students, especially when the parents and administrators discourage homework because it interferes with students’ social development. Still, Anna is stunned when she finds a colleague writing a paper for one of her students. She’s further shocked when the administration asks her to push her discovery aside and forget what she saw. As the school year progresses, she discovers that there’s an entire industry of private school teachers who tutor students on the side. Seduced by the possibility of moving from her one-room walk-up to a building with a doorman, Anna begins tutoring students who attend other elite private schools, and finds that she is finally connecting with her own students in a way she hadn’t expected. But everything comes with a price, and it’s not long until Anna has to decide what really matters.
I walked past Schooled by Anisha Lakhani at Barnes and Noble a few times on several different occasions before I finally picked it up. And I have some mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it was fast and easy to read, and even moderately entertaining at times. On the other, I had a hard time looking past Anna’s incessant name-dropping of designer labels. For me, that turned a somewhat likable, if inconsistent, lead character into a reason to skim through the book. It’s not so much that I minded the fascination with high fashion, it was more that I got sick of the words “Juicy Couture” and “Prada” on practically every page.
Thankfully, Lakhani avoided loading the book with the cliche that Anna needed to find a man to be happy. Her focus on her career makes it unnecessary, and I feel like the story moves well enough without it.
If you’re a fan of chick lit, or a fan of The Nanny Diaries or Gossip Girl, I’d encourage you to check this book out (to me, this book felt like a combination of the two). If not, it’s probably not worth your time.