Developing Minds - The Review
by Jonathan LaPoma
I really enjoyed this book! It definitely exceeded my expectations. When I cracked it open I didn't know what to expect (I didn't read the jacket description - I know, shame on me). I thought it would your typical ghost story, something like a haunting in a school. But instead I was treated to a different type of ghost story, one much more real and much more relatable.
We meet Luke as he leaves NYC for Miami. On a whim he heads do the coastal city looking for a job with the Miami School District. Tagging along is his friend Billy. The two have been friends for quite some time and set off for a new adventure. Both are in search of teaching jobs and both land teaching jobs. However, those jobs are in a couple of low performing schools with a number of troubled kids crowding the halls.
As Luke adjusts to his new life in Miami we quickly learn that he struggles to do the right thing and seems rather lost, almost like he's drifting from one day to the next just hoping to get through the school year. He befriends a few of his fellow teachers and they go onto some crazy adventures after hours. Many of Luke's night are spent getting drunk at a nearby bar and falling asleep on the bar, only to be wakened by the flirty woman tending bar. But that's just the start of his eyebrow-raising antics.
Not only are we treated to a view of teachers in their private lives but we are also given a glimpse into the daily operation of a failing education system. Despite the best efforts of the teachers the students grow more and more unruly and are fearless in the face of a system that doesn't want to take a stand in one direction of another. I'm related to a teacher so a lot of what is depicted in this novel isn't far from the truth (in terms of the education system, schools and administrators).
All in all this was a terrific read with plenty of humor. Some absolutely fantastic comebacks and witty one-liners dominate a lot of the after hours conversation. Luke and teacher Wolo's friendship is truly a highlight and their banter is priceless.
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