Thursday, November 10, 2011

Putting My Teacher Hat On.
Review: Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life

So, I read Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson.  I laughed.  I read and enjoyed the pictures.  I even felt for the young character in the book, Rafe, who seems to really have the worst middle school experience accompanied by the best imagination ever.  But.  (You knew there was a but!) But, I am a teacher.  I was groaning as Rafe was claiming to ‘not hurt anyone’ while simultaneously steal educational time from his classmates and torment his teachers.  I taught in several inner city schools.  I have had my share of students who didn’t feel like the rules applied to them.  I know it’s a sport to them sometimes.  Trying to get the teacher to raise her voice, attempting to get kicked out of class, breaking rules one by one: all for attention or a game.  That is why this book wasn’t my favorite.
All that being said, students will like this book.  It’s sophisticated enough to appeal to middle school boys who like trouble and share secret thoughts of breaking rules to break the monotony of middle school, yet will appeal to students who like funny gags, hilarious drawings, and a story with a semi-happy ending.  I would totally put this book into the hand of any student who fit that bill.  But, the book was not for me.  I am guessing the writer and publishing juggernaut, James Patterson will get over it.

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