A while back, I sent a copy of Learn Me Good to NovelCritic, a website which reviews books, as the name would imply. A few nights ago, I got an email saying that the review was up and available. I checked it out and was very pleased with what I found! So much so, that I decided I'd copy it here for all to see!
Let the blatant self-promotion continue into 2009! :)
Again, this comes from NovelCritic, by the reviewer Nazzrat.
This is one funny book. Learn Me Good, by John Pearson, is not your average three-act novel that most of us have come to expect from fiction. In fact, it isn’t all ficticious, but rather a chronology of events in written form, much like the Diary of Anne Frank, but with fewer nazis. The book is comprised entirely of email messages with no chapter breaks. And who needs ‘em?
The only fiction in the book are the names of the people involved. And maybe some of the stories have been embellished. A little.Jack Woodson has been laid off from a big engineering firm. What he used to be: an engineer. What he is now: a grade school teacher. It sounds like an odd coupling, but at least his background gives him a good footing to teach math and science. To third graders. In his spare time he shoots off an email to his buddy and ex-co-worker Fred Bommerson (not his real name) to report on how the teaching job is going, and to enlighten and inform (read: tattle) the good folks at the engineering plant as to what kind of antics the kids are up to. Apparently, the names of the children have also been changed to protect the innocent (name one!), but some of the names of the students were so compelling, I found myself aching to know what the real names were. For instance, Mr. Woodson mentions a kid named Samsonite, then throws in a clever quip about how a kid with that kind of name must be carrying around a lot of emotional baggage (ba-dum bum). So the question is: does the REAL kid have a name that also sounds like a luggage manufacturer? Trying to think of a real name to offset the fake one added an element of charm and intrigue to the overall story.
As the school year progresses and the email piles up, the stories become more and more entertaining and funny. This book shines a bright, multi-colored light into the deep, dark recesses (no pun) of the classroom and the emperor and serfs thereof. From the drop-in eye care lady (”I think glasses are SEXY!”) to the drill-down preparation for the dreaded TAKS tests, Pearson carrys the reader through a school year of fun and mayhem. And don’t think there isn’t a climactic finish. I practically blew out an O-ring waiting to see if the students passed the math part of the TAKS test. I won’t give it away here, but the results were quite surprising.
So, if you’re looking for a book that will stick to your fingers and keep you awake until you can finally learn the academic fate of these kids who are so (and some not so) eager to learn from their well-meaning and sometimes misplaced teacher, this is the book for you.