Chain Gang Elementary tackles tough issues with “acerbic wit”

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Book Tackles Difficult Issues of Education, Parenting, and Bake Sale Embezzlement

Jonathan Grant’s timely, poignant tale of war between a PTA president and a grade school principal has struck a chord with both parents and educators as well as critics. In addition to receiving praise from reviewers, Chain Gang Elementary is “Required Reading” in PTO Today.

“It’s funny. It’s not so funny,” says Grant. “I tell people it’s my revenge for being forced to read Lord of the Flies in high school.”

Setting PTA embezzlement and testing scandals against a backdrop of “diversity fails” and bitter culture wars, the novel’s plot may seem like it’s been lifted from recent news headlines. But there’s more to the book than that.

Winner of non-Pulitzer Prize

“When I was an elementary school PTA president, I wanted to write a non-fiction book—a how-to guide for parent leaders,” Grant explains. “Then I saw Murder at the PTA Luncheon. Actually, I came across this phrase: ‘Every good school is fundamentally the same, but every bad school is unique.’ This got me thinking, and being a novelist, I decided instead to tackle the subject as a cautionary tale, a ‘how-not-to’ guide for parent-educator relationships.”

To get an idea of the novel’s bite, check out this excerpt on The Standard Hightower Intellachievement Test.

Here’s just some of the praise being given to Chain Gang Elementary:

  • “This book is the show ‘Desperate Housewives’ wishes it could be.” – Indie Books List (“Book of the Month” award)
  • “Grant provides trenchant criticisms of educational policy … (with) acerbic wit.” – Publishers Weekly
  • “Exceptionally well-written.” – John Pearson, teacher and author of Learn Me Good
  • “Those who have written education columns for newspapers, survivors of parent/teacher organizations as well as many others will find that Grant has done an exceptional job of weaving educational fact and enticing fiction together. For that, he deserves an ‘A.’”—Jack Kennedy, former president, Education Writers Association
  • “Truth or fiction: Chain Gang Elementary cuts too close to reality. A novel that reads like daily news.” – Diane Ravitch

Grant also publishes the Chain Gang Blog (www.chaingangelementary.com), his Darwin Award-ish take on crime, education, public policy, and whatever else he finds weirdly fascinating. A representative headline: “Contrary to popular opinion, duct tape does not fix children.”

Book Description: After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a “school of excellence.” When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, third-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers–where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict.

Chain Gang Elementary

A Novel by Jonathan Grant
Paperback/eBook
Thornbriar Press
ISBN 978-0-9834921-0-8
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9834921-1-5
Contemporary Fiction
Available wherever books are sold

www.chaingangelementary.com
info@chaingangelementary.com

It takes a village to loot and pillage

It takes a village to loot and pillage.

CHAIN GANG ELEMENTARY

Kindle Sale: Only 99¢

“Acerbic Wit”—Publisher’s Weekly
“Required Reading” —PTO Today 
“Book of the Month” —Indie Books List

* * *

5 stars

In a 5-star review, a teacher writes: “I would recommend this book to anyone in the education field, anyone who has ever participated in a PTA or PTO, and anyone who has ever had a child in a school where there was a PTA or PTO.”

* * *

3d chain_gangThe Story: After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a “school of excellence.” When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, 3rd-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers–where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict.

Keep going to the end!

4 stars

Here’s the latest review of Chain Gang Elementary, written by C. Koens on the book’s Amazon page (where the ebook version is now on sale for $0.99—$5.00 off the suggested retail this month).

Keep Going To the End!

The book being based around the life of a PTO president made it different from other books I’ve read recently. I found it most of the book interesting, but it got particularly exciting towards the end. It wasn’t until very late in the book, that all the loose part of the story came together.

Richard is a flawed hero, and while there were times in the book where I because very frustrated by him, I was satisfied by how everything ended.

I liked how one character, who was looked down upon by the others in the story, turned out to be one of the real heroes.

I received a free copy of the book.

Teacher gives Chain Gang Elementary 5 stars

5 stars

Ladybug posted this review July 5 on Goodreads:

 

“I received a free download of this book from Story Cartel.

I enjoyed this book very much.  Being a teacher, and former treasurer of a PTO, I could totally relate to many things presented in this book.  The PTO at my small-town school is wonderful, and during the year I served as treasurer I never experienced any of the extreme politics as in this book.  However, I can see how things could get out of control in a larger school and district.  In any organization, personalities will clash and conflicts will occur.  I found it interesting that many of the characters lost sight of the PTO’s purpose, which is to support the students and teachers.  The characters often got caught up in their own personal agendas and forgot all about the kids.

I think it would be an interesting read if the author wrote the same story from the principal’s point of view.  (Although I must say, she sounded like a principal I definitely would NOT want to teach for!)

I would recommend this book to anyone in the education field, anyone who has ever participated in a PTA or PTO, and anyone who has ever had a child in a school where there was a PTA or PTO.”

Kindle sale: Only 99 cents!

“Acerbic Wit” — Publishers Weekly

Required Reading” — PTO Today

“Book of the Month” — Indie Books List

“Offensive in so many ways”– Tweet

4.3-star rated on Amazon.com

 

chain_gang_elementary cropped coverNow only 99 cents!

 

Book’s Amazon page 

BN.com Nook page

 

The paperback is available at Amazon.com for just $11.66 — more than $4 off the suggested retail price. You can also purchase Chain Gang Elementary through Barnes and Noble online or at your favorite bookstore.

 

“In the beginning, God created idiots. This was for practice. Then He created School Boards.” — Mark Twain

Finally, 150 years later, the sequel!

The Story: After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a “school of excellence.” When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, 3rd-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers–where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict.

Learn more.

For a taste of what’s ahead, check out this excerpt: “All Hail the Standard Hightower Intellachievement Test!” (Warning: Do not use acronym in public).

Also, you can buy my award-winning novel Brambleman for only a dollar! Click for details.