I was very interested in what John Pearson had to say about Chain Gang Elementary, since he’s both a teacher and an author. He quit and engineering job to become a math teacher in an inner-city school and wrote about his experiences in Learn Me Good. He’s managed to keep his sense of humor–his sequel is Learn Me Gooder. He also maintains a website and blog. Check them out. The review below was originally posted on John’s Amazon.com page.
Very Well-Written and Engrossing
by John Pearson, Author of Learn Me Good
(December 29, 2011) This review is from: Chain Gang Elementary (Kindle Edition).
I was contacted by Jonathan Grant a few months ago and asked if I would like a copy of his new book, Chain Gang Elementary, in order to review and share with the readers of my blog. Being a teacher myself, I got a bit bogged down in the intervening time period and didn’t get a chance to read it, but here in the middle of our Christmas break, I was really able to get into it.
I highly enjoyed this novel. It was exceptionally well-written, the dialogue was crisp, and the characters were completely believable. I found only a couple of formatting errors, and most importantly, once I got into it, it had me enthralled.
The hero, Richard Gray, is a parent at the school, who winds up falling into the position of Parent Teacher Organization president. Since this is his story, most of the people on his side (the protagonists) are fellow parents and PTO members. Many of the antagonists are teachers and administrators at the school. Believe me when I say, the LAST thing I want to read is another round of teacher-bashing (which seems to be getting way too prevalent nowadays), and I will admit that I was a bit anxious when I started getting into the “battle mode” of the story. However, this is not at all a work of teacher-bashing. There was a very heroic teacher (who was of course labeled “the worst teacher at the school”), along with several other common-sense, cause-friendly teachers at the school. The teachers and administrators who were “enemy combatants” were truly idiots and awful people. I found myself getting angry at their actions, thinking that if I or anyone I knew did those sorts of things (putting in a cartoon then lying down in the teacher’s lounge, while kids got into fights in the classroom, for instance), I would want to take legal action myself.
I have worked with my share of kids like Devonious, Alicia, and Nick. Obviously, Jonathan Grant has had some experience as well, because the characterizations were authentic.
Well done, Mr. Grant, and best of luck with the promotion of this great work.