Well, it wasn't as good as I was hoping after reading the jacket preview, but it also wasn't nearly as horrific as I expected after the first two chap...moreWell, it wasn't as good as I was hoping after reading the jacket preview, but it also wasn't nearly as horrific as I expected after the first two chapters. Not the best read, but sorta kinda readable if you can get past the vapidness of the characters.(less)
This is really more of a 3.5, but enough sections resonated with me as a teacher and having experienced some of the situations the author had been thr...moreThis is really more of a 3.5, but enough sections resonated with me as a teacher and having experienced some of the situations the author had been through that I feel I can round up with the rating.
I wish some of the Zen concepts could've been explained more clearly, but at the same time, I'm not sure they can be, so I don't want to fault the author for that. I really enjoyed the anecdotes, and I thought the format was good (story-->dharma-->explanation w/ quotes). Many of the different precepts I'd actually thought about separately from teaching, despite my limited knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, and it was cool seeing how they connected. I grinned when I saw that one thing in particular I do when students won't stop talking (wait for them to notice I'm silent) was something that's actually philosophically relevant.
While I'm not sure I'm actually patient enough for some of the things she mentions (not taking offense when people are ignoring what I'm trying to say) or that I could actually DO some of the things she does (teaching in a public middle school means I have certain expectations and restrictions placed on me that a college doesn't), there's enough I can carry over that make this a meaningful book that I could recommend to teachers who have been in the field for awhile.(less)
**spoiler alert** I thought this book was well-paced and that every once in awhile there'd be a good poem amidst the awkward and annoying ones. Cade,...more**spoiler alert** I thought this book was well-paced and that every once in awhile there'd be a good poem amidst the awkward and annoying ones. Cade, in the end, was a sympathetic character, and I felt sorry for the little sister for getting dragged into all that nonsense. However, that's where my praise for this disappointing book ends.
I think that Amber is completely irresponsible (spending all her life savings to spend the last day with her family by herself, going off with some random dude she just met (sounds like the intro to a tragic news story), and hardly telling anyone where she was or what she was doing). But then, the adults in her life don't give her a very good example, either.
Her own family did her a major disservice not fighting harder--I would've felt completely unwanted if my parents had just sat back and agreed to go let me live with some pair of strangers for six months. And the "real" parents were loathsome. If it'd been Amber's mom who'd discovered it, do you think Jeanie and Allan would've been all psyched to let their daughter go live with her genetic parents like that? Probably not. They forced themselves on Amber's life for no good reason, turned her into a media spectacle, and just expected her to dance around happily as if they'd done her a favor.
The fact that the judge didn't take Amber's feelings into account was a little implausible. In many states, once you're fourteen you can decide whether or not to go on a custody trip, even if another party has been awarded custody. Amber is sixteen--shouldn't she be allowed to make that decision, especially since she'd have to split her school year between different districts?
I've read several of Schroeder's books in the past and I wouldn't bypass another were I to come across one, but this book was a massive disappointment. The plot was implausible, most of the characters were idiots, and I couldn't wait for the last page so I could be done with it.(less)