Monday, April 1, 2013

You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik

You Deserve NothingYou Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You Deserve Nothing is set in a private international high school in Paris (the setting being yet another character in the story), with compelling first-person narrations by two students and their revered English teacher who challenges them to think about their reading in moral and philosophical terms.  They try to translate his intellectual messages to their lives and suffer the universal response of teenagers to the disappointments of adulthood as their beloved teacher seems to throw away his livelihood and career in careless, unwary behavior.  I read it with total absorption. The following passage about teachers stuck with me:

"The ones who stay are so often some of the most depressing people you've ever met in your life.  It has nothing to do with their age.  They've stayed because of their dispositions--bitter, bored, lacking in ambition, lonely, and mildly insane....This is what it takes to teach for half a life-time.  The ones who care, who love the subjects, who love their students, who love, above all, teaching--they rarely hang around."

Maksik is a gifted writer and I look forward to more of his work.

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