Reality Lies Beyond the Fog: A Humorous Novel About Our Public Education System and The Need For Honest Educational Reform
Terry Truman, in an effort to do something good with his life, leaves a career as a CPA and enters the world of high school teaching. The business department chair, Barry Buck, tells Terry he is only there to put in a little more time to increase his pension and that he is very busy running a side business, so Terry shouldn’t expect his mentor to be around very much. There has been tremendous turnover at the school, and most of the new hires are young, inexperienced, and not very bright. But Teacher Terry, although completely inexperienced in teaching, seems to have a natural knack for the job and soon has students clambering for his classes because he is such a wonderful teacher. This breeds resentment on the part of other teachers, the union, and many in administration. Readers learn early on that almost everyone in administration is completely drug-crazed, sex-crazed, and driven by greed to the exclusion of any needs of teachers or students. In addition to these problems, Teacher Terry has debilitating allergies brought on by mold in his classroom and a chemical leak in the area, neither of which are addressed by those in charge. Truman butts heads with the superintendent, a completely nefarious woman, and things only get worse.
Author Kevin Terence Ratigan has a good mastery of the English language, and the text is clear of grammatical errors. The dialogue in the book, unfortunately, is completely unbelievable and non-conversational. The characters are fairly two-dimensional, either very good or very bad, and all but a few fall into the bad category. Attempts at humor, such as alliterative, demeaning names for many characters, like Harriet Holdover and Peter Pushover and Lyle Lazi, fall flat. This is a diatribe against public education but with nothing factual to support the position. With the help of a good developmental editor, this could be shaped into the book the author clearly would like it to be.
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