Julie Failla Earhart's Reviews > Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord
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Oct 05, 09

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Read in October, 2009

I’m glad I’m not Joshua Gaylord. Imagine the pressure of being EdgarAward-winning novelist Megan Abbot’s husband. Yikes! But ya gotta give Gaylord credit for trying and having a good start.
In his debut novel, Hummingbirds, Gaylord sets his contemporary story at an exclusive all-girls prep school in New York City. It seems much like the one he has taught at for the past nine years. Write what you know, they say.
Gaylord does take a chance in this work by not writing the story from one of the girl’s---or several girls’---point of view. Instead, the story is about the only male teacher on the English Department Faculty, Leo Binhammer. That is until a new teacher with the unlikely name of Ted Hughes. For those you can’t quite place the name, Ted Hughes was Sylvia Plath’s husband’s name. Interesting.
Leo knows one thing that Ted doesn’t know. Leo knows that Ted had a brief affair with his wife, Sarah. Leo is constantly worried about this and manages to keep the two from meeting until the faculty holiday party.
Hummingbirds gets off to a fast start, then quickly accelerates. The story maintains its suspense until about the halfway point. Then the story bogs down in lots of repetition and angst. Angst among the girls and the faculty that gets old after awhile.
Review originally appeared on www.armchairinterviews.com.
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