Storyline: What can I say about Learn Me Good by John Pearson other than it really are good?! It’s better than good; it’s gooder even! Mr. Pearson’s hilarious book chronicles his first year of teaching through a series of emails to a former coworker. It almost makes me want to be a teacher. Almost.
Jack Woodson was laid off from his engineering job that he worked at for nearly 4 years and decided to become a school teacher. After all the necessary tests, certifications and teacher’s training, he is now a brand spanking new math and science teacher at a Dallas area school with his very own class of 3rd grade students to mold into future world leaders.
Jack decides to share his day to day adventures and misadventures with a former colleague at the thermal design firm he was let go from. Learn Me Good is based on actual events. The names of the parties involved have all been changed to protect the innocent and deter the guilty from being too proud of their “accomplishments.” Jack pokes fun at his old coworkers, even comparing their maturity level to that of the 3rd graders he teaches and all the while, sharing anecdotes about the 8 and 9 year olds’ views on life, liberty and the pursuit of recess.
Grammar/Spelling: I did not notice any grammatical or spelling issues. (As to be expected, I mean, Mr. Pearson IS a teacher!)
Character Development: There were plenty of characters and plenty of character development. Mr. Pearson navigates through the first year of teaching with an ever-changing cast list in his class and a consistent group of players back at his old job. I could go on for ages about each character, but I’d not only be stealing Mr. Pearson’s thunder, I’d also be doing him a disservice with simple summations of each person’s integral part to the overall experience.
We have Marvin: the ultimate example of how ADHD cannot be “cured” with simple medication. He means well, he’s just…how do you say? Exuberant? Full of life? Yeah, that’s it. Marvin is a simple soul who sees the world as it is: in shades of “I didn’t mean to…”
Thompson is an aspiring rap star and dresses the part – in miniature, of course. He is subject to sudden and intense “rap attacks” when he pops, locks and lays down some serious (if inaudible) lyrical genius. At times, he even borrows verses from other lyrical geniuses – even if he doesn’t quite know what all of the words mean.
Then we have hapless Larry: one of Jack’s former coworkers and the butt to nearly any and all of Jack’s jokes both in these emails and when he worked with him. There was even a prank involving Larry’s unattended computer, a picture of the boss and an audio file set at full volume. I’ve been a witness to that sort of joke before. Always a good time for nearly all parties involved!
Writing Style: The writing style was straight-forward and full of laughs. At times, I could read between the lines and feel some of his frustrations with the entire standardized testing system; but, I could definitely see that he genuinely cared about his students’ successes and failures.
Continuity: No issues with continuity.
Overall Rating: 5+
Learn Me Good was practically impossible to put down, hilarious and pretty inspiring. Just when I was fairly certain that our public school systems were full of teachers that don’t care and are just focused on standardized testing, Mr. Pearson proves that there are at least a couple who strive to go beyond the dreaded test. There were numerous times when I threatened to spit water out onto my keyboard when reading it. (“Yes, Generic Student?”)
I hope that Learn Me Good is the first in a series of hilarious school year stories. I could read these for DAYS. Or, if not a series, at least it will be the first of many great books to come from the very talented Mr. John Pearson.
Anyone with a child, anyone who works with children or has worked with children in the past or is planning on working with children in the future or, heck, anyone who can read at nearly any level, should read Learn Me Good! There is simply a lack of any good reasons not to read it!