Back to school!This book took thirty years off my life and took me back to a time of raging hormones, rampant crushes and rebellious teenagers.
Parker is a bookworm and while reading a book during a break is asked by his teacher, Miss Lowry, what the book is about. He answers honestly and quite innocently."I held up the book so she could see it better. The Well of Loneliness, Miss. By Radclyffe Hall.”
“I think I might have heard of it. Refresh my memory, won’t you. What’s it about?”
“Yes, Miss.” She looked taken aback, so I felt I had to explain: “It’s not… it’s not titillating, or anything like that. It’s about the life of this woman called Stephen—”
This really had me laughing just thinking about how my teachers would have reacted had I ever had the guts to say something like this. Brilliant! Parker is a well behaved student by normal standards, but this one incident triggers a whole chain of events.
Miss Lowry is shocked and decides to post a list of books to be banned from the school with 'questionable' content. Well, as you can imagine when dealing with teenagers, if you forbid it you make it even more attractive. I remember in the 80s as soon as the BBC announced on the radio that due to the lyrics of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's first release "Relax" it couldn't be broadcasted, it shot to number one in the charts in about the space of about four days! I still laugh now thinking about it. I think Miss Lowry needs to go back to teacher training college!
This now opens up a whole new and secret black-market in the school for books, with Parker and Fritz supplying and providing the books on this list for a price. Almost like book trafficing. They make a nice profit and it really was quite entrepreneurial of them. Fritz sees this as a rebellion against the establishment, but Rafe soon tires of this and suggests telling the headmaster. He didn't have to anyway, as they get caught red-handed by Lowry anyway.
In the end Miss Lowry looses the plot and tries to get the boys disciplined by bringing them to the headmaster on several occasions. He reaches a point where obviously what Miss Lowry is doing is ridiculous, remains fair by not banning the books but they still get detention for staying out after curfew seeing it's a boarding school. Even the headmaster had to admit with a sardonic smile that the good thing about this was that he had never seen so many of his students reading books.
Parker has a crush on Rafe, who knows that Parker is gay and that's OK, but doesn't know his true feelings for him. Oh, the sweet pain of unrequited love - such a teenage syndrome. Fritz is gay too but not out to his parents as is Parker and would like to try to go out with Parker after his crush on Rafe subsides. Almost like a teenage crush triangle. I must admit this part of the story was really endearing. I sat there reminiscing about my teenage years when emotions are a constant roller-coaster ride between unsolicited joy and total rejection. Would I like to be a teenager again? No way, emotionally too stressful! this really took me back to the days when you're feelings are running a frenzy and everything you are feeling is new and trying to work through them for the first time.
The book is sweet, cute and had me smiling reading about these teenagers and their small rebellion against the establishment. It is very well written and from an author who in my opinion obviously understands teenagers extremely well, being a teacher by trade myself.
If I had this book to read in the school library I probably would have read a lot more in school than I did. This short story is worth the read for the fun factor and will have you sat there smiling, laughing, feeling good and reminiscing all the way to the school bell.~ A copy of this book was provided by Harmony Ink Press through Dreamspinner Press for a fair and honest review ~