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Educating Rita by Willy Russell
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Educating Rita (1980)

by Willy Russell

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From the book jacket: Hairdresser Rita feels that life has passed her by. She wants an education. But does Frank have anything to teach her?

My reactions:
Yes, Frank does have something to teach Rita, but she also teaches him. I love watching Rita grow and change throughout this play. I’ve never seen the play performed, nor did I watch the movie, though I remember it being quite popular back in the early 1980s. I knew the basic premise, however was still delighted to watch it unfold.

Rita is a marvelous character. Witty, and forthright. She does not suffer fools gladly, though t the outset she lacks confidence. She feel “less than” due to a lack of education, and envies the students on the university campus their lifestyle. Rita is not sure what she wants out of life, but she knows she wants more, and she sees education as a means to give her more options.

Frank is a perfect foe … a professor and has-been poet, who has more interest in the contents of the whiskey bottles than the contents of the books that line his office shelves, and behind which he stashes the drink. He’s cynical and has taken this special student only for the money.

But Frank sees something in Rita that sparks his interest. She’s so eager to learn, and he is forced to examine his own thoughts on books and literature and poetry and life based on her questions (and answers). He recognizes in her the spark of desire, and she kindles that spark in him. No, I don’t mean sexual desire … I mean that desire to live, to experience life fully, to learn new things, not because we need them for a job or a career, but because we simply want to live more fully. Rita isn’t certain what path she will choose, but she knows that, thanks to Frank, she now has more choices. ( )
  BookConcierge | Nov 7, 2017 |
Too many profanities and innuendos knocked a star or two off my rating. . . ( )
  TheEditrix | Jan 13, 2016 |
My favourite play. Funny and tender. Showing how education opens doors, and closes others. A two-hander between Rita and her hard-drinking tutor, Frank. Wonderful. As much fun to read and see again. ( )
  LARA335 | May 27, 2011 |
  www.snigel.nu | Nov 17, 2007 |
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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