Drew's Reviews > You Deserve Nothing

You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik
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May 27, 11

bookshelves: philosophical, novel
Read in May, 2011

William Silver is a young teacher at the ISF, a high school for international students, in Paris. He is a well liked and dynamic literature teacher whose senior seminar is one of the highlights of many students careers at the school. The school year in which the story takes place, Silver is teaching literature, that while not exclusively existentialist, leans in that direction and is exposing most of his students to this philosophy for the first time.

Yet, as he is teaching these students about the repercussions of choosing (or not choosing), about living a life to its fullest, he is engaging in a sexual affair with one of his students. As his own choices, and lack thereof, become known to his students, his stature amongst them and ultimately his teaching position fall into jeopardy.

Silver's role is reminiscent of John Keating (Robin Williams character) in "Dead Poet's Society" and the story recalls "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder in that it teaches philosophy in the form of a novel, albeit more focused on existentialism rather than a sweeping view of the history of philosophy.

Well written, erotic, and passionate, "You Deserve Nothing" is an interesting read, slow in a few parts, but packing enough punch to keep your interest all the way to the bitter, and bittersweet, end.
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