Kira's Reviews > Ms. Hempel Chronicles

Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
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's review
Jan 16, 2012

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Read in December, 2010

I’ve been searching for one adjective to sum up this book and the best I can come up with is elegant. It’s a simple story, told in clear but beautiful language. It’s not a page-turner, but neither is it dull. And for anyone who’s attended middle school, for anyone who can still name all of their teachers, for anyone who’s wondered how crucial years of their adolescence looked to those on the outside, this book is a poignant bit of nostalgia. "Hempel" is a snapshot of lives joined together for the better part of a year by book reports and hallway gossip, but that will nonetheless grow apart, develop separately and move forward in the decades to come. I may never have wanted to be a teacher, but I can appreciate the efforts of those whose job it is to know young adults before they really know themselves.


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