Although the story opens with Sarah, who is very sensitive, perceptive and an active committee member of the P&C, mother to two primary school children and wife to Ian, The Good Teacher by R.M.Anderson is the story of Brock Kelly, new teacher at Stony Creek (also the principal) and Jennifer Booth.
Jennifer is P&C president, efficient, organised, a power of strength and example of good will, values, leadership and ideals in the small rural community. She is mother to Madison who has manipulated her way out of one high school and is now living at home with Jennifer and hard-working husband, Andy. Their property is one to be proud of.
Who would have thought that a P&C meeting could be such a fascinating opening to a novel? Not only that it is the catalyst affecting so many people, causing upheaval, scheming, deceit, deviousness and change. What else could the reader expect when the teacher and, till then, moralistic Jennifer, have a sexual, passionate encounter on the teacher’s desk and just before the P&C meeting!
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The author creates a wonderful scene of a fire, starting from the bin in the principal’s office and at the same time sending Sarah home early as she cannot handle the knowledge that, to her, is so obvious, of the sexual tension hanging in the air. What a scene as she returns home, not disturbing the babysitter and quietly entering her own bedroom!
Meet Mack, loving grandfather and support to the troublesome Madison. Meet Andy who writes of Jennifer, “she probably did not love him as much as she loved order, but second fiddle to an attitude was not bad”. There are many, more characters in this unfolding, all important saga which is often uproarious and entertaining. The wicked behaviour prompted by lust pops up at the most unexpected times as well as real-life observations that are part of the anecdote. Covert behaviour and scheming lead to more and more lies, revenge, retaliation and settling of scores.
In such a close-knit community so many responsible people have a hand in the final settling of scores, and where better to do this than at the one teacher school. So many people have their own agenda and none more so than young Madison. Behaviour, however, cannot be predicted and poetic justice, well, for some is on its way.
I love the way the author has written from each character’s point of view with each chapter easily identifiable as it is named for that person. This does not mean that it is simplistic but that it clearly belongs to that person. This and the continual humour makes for an entertaining and delightful read suitable for all ages, males or females. A must read for all Australians who enjoy a little mirth and a great insight into rural communities for any overseas reader.
An accomplished and captivating author who has a great understanding of human behaviour.
The Good Teacher, by R.M. Anderson, is available in paperback and ebook from the publishers HQ Fiction. Click here for details