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moving under skies

NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy:  you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com. 

The Day I Became an Autodidact

The Day I Became an Autodidact - Kendall Hailey

I'm embarrassed to have read this as it was so atrocious. Let me explain: I flirted with becoming an autodidact when I left high school after my freshman year and I half-hoped to find a kindred exploration of the joys of self-education. How wrong I was. This is a whiny, choppy, pretentious, and, most damningly, boring journal of a thoroughly unlikeable teenager. I was hoping for a light & breezy paean to self education. Instead, it's just a diary, and an utterly dull one at that. Really, I think Ms. Hailey should have gone to college: her uneducated readings are shallow (she hates Beowulf because it's violent) and her life is painfully sheltered and privileged and utterly devoid of any meaningful experience. It's almost funny how Ms. Hailey continually proclaims how her real life has begun, what fantastic experiences she's having, while all the while she's just lolling about in her parents' house playing at being an artist, actress, writer, and reader but really just subjecting any hapless reader to her protracted adolescence. If anything, this book is a testament to the beneficial aspects of college--Ms. Hailey's self-educated mind would probably have been a more interesting place to spend some time if she'd've gone. I can only assume that nepotism (both of her parents are writers) got this published as it has no redeeming literary qualities and absolutely no interest as a biography.