William Bentrim's Reviews > The School of Possibilities

The School of Possibilities by Seita Vuorela
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May 24, 2010

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Read in May, 2010

School Of Possibilities by Seita Parkkola

This was a curious book. I would have pegged it as targeting middle school kids even if it didn’t say so on the back cover. Storm is a troubled child sent to a school for troubled children where he meets Stepford Wife types of kids. Outside of school he meets India who is a self professed guard. How Storm interacts with his peers, family and school comprises the gist of the book.

This is a dark book. There are no adults portrayed with any redeeming characteristics. For some reason I was reminded of “Brave New World, 1984 and Lord of the Flies”. As an adult I found it very depressing and I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be worse for a kid. Parents with no back bone, an evil guidance counselor and mindless kids abound. The few redeeming characters are other “lost” kids. There are either a lot of confusing elements or symbolic references that I am missing.

I was under the impression that Finland had a high suicide rate and I was attributing the dark nature of the book to the nationality of the author. It didn’t take much research to discover that while they are suggested to be a bit dour, the Finns fall in the midrange of suicide statistics.

The characterizations and descriptions were well done. Storm’s despair was poignant and painful.

This book is worth reading but I think that high school might be more appropriate. The total lack of any adults of value is disturbing, in that a child at risk may find it entirely too easy to slip into the despair that Storm experienced. I do not think it is suitable for 9-12 year olds. It poses some daunting questions regarding enforced conformity and I think it would be an excellent book for discussion at the high school level.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Shellie (Layers of Thought) So is it a Dystopia? Set in Finland?...
Thanks :)

William Bentrim It is an indeterminate place but the author is Finish. One of the stranger books I have read. Well done but it just seemed to feed into a feeling of despair with which middle school kids often struggle. I'm probably overreating due to the number of trouble kids I saw as a counselor. Too many of them saw ALL adults as the enemy and this book just seemed to reinforce that feeling. With that said, depressing stuff seems to sell well, so the book will probably be a raging success.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) Its kind of worrisome.... but you don't want them to stop reading.

It is heartbreaking to see kids in that space, as well as scary. You wonder if they will surface to a healthy balanced attitude. *sigh*

So did he write it in English? or was it translated?
Thanks :)

William Bentrim Good question, it was translated. Most of the kids resurface as relatively normal. In 10 year I only had two kids I worked with who committed suicide and one may have been accidental. That is two too many but the number who eventually hugged me and said that I had changed or even saved their life was substantially higher. Teenage self destructive behavior has changed in methodology over the last 40 years but the underlying causes of alienation, frustration and emotional angst have not changed. There are more resources today though, so that is a ray of hope.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) Excellent I love translations.

I had two boys in my grammar school class commit suicide... go figure? tuff stuff...

message 6: by Sean (new)

Sean Thank you, William, for your excellent review. You told me exactly what I needed and wanted to know about this book. It was precisely your review that I was hoping to find when I came to Goodreads to read about this book.

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