Title: English as a Second Language
Author: Megan Crane
Release Date: August 1, 2004
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the back cover:
In this wickedly funny first novel–think Legally Blonde at Oxford–a young New York woman exchanges her corporate job for a year of books, blokes, and new friends in graduate school in England. Alexandra Brennan is fed up with her dead end New York City job–and even more fed up with running into her smug ex-boyfriend. So when he crosses the line by telling her that shell never get into graduate school in the United Kingdom, that’s precisely what she does. Armed with imported cigarettes and extra-strength coffee, Alex crosses the Atlantic to face all that Great Britain and grad school have to offer, including ill-considered romantic interludes, a red-headed nemesis with intellectual pretensions and ulterior motives, and more books than she can possibly read in a year. What she discovers, however, is that instead of running away from home, she may have actually found it. With its cheeky wit and terrific cast of characters, ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE is a hilarious coming-of-age story readers wont soon forget about one young woman’s misadventures along the path to adulthood.
I really enjoyed Frenemies [review] and Names My Sisters Call Me [review] by Megan Crane, but had no idea that she’d written two books before these two chick lit gems. I actually first came across English as a Second Language when I was searching for books about Oxford. Though it’s not about the actual university, it is the chronicle of an American girl’s experiences at an English university.
English as a Second Language is a charming and funny novel that I really enjoyed. It presents the quirks of adjusting to life in the United Kingdom with a fun twist. I also loved the premise – you are in charge of your life. If you don’t like it, you can change it – you just have to take a chance on something new. It is an empowering message that has been skillfully woven throughout this book.
Though the character of Alex was well drawn, it is clear that this was Crane’s first novel. She doesn’t have the depth of character or the complicated nature of Megan Crane’s later novels, but she is a precursor to the wonderful characters that come in subsequent books.
If you are looking for a book about academia, English as a Second Language is definitely not the one to choose. Much more of it takes place at the pub than at the actual university. Though that’s completely in tune with the rest of the book, if you are looking for a book set at a university about graduate school, this probably won’t satisfy you.
English as a Second Language is a great chick lit novel that is light and fun to read. I read it for the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon, and it was a perfect pick. It was easy to read, funny, and held my interest very well. If you are looking for a creative chick lit novel, look no further than English as a Second Language!