A tiresome, pretentious, dismally didactic ego trip (a recurring phrase here) about a predictably unorthodox junior high...

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THE ROTTEN YEARS

A tiresome, pretentious, dismally didactic ego trip (a recurring phrase here) about a predictably unorthodox junior high school teacher and her one-month ""experiment"" in cultivating her students' ""inner resources."" Most of the book consists of Mrs. Jones' letters, lectures, and long-winded assignment sheets (her methods for inducing independence are unabashedly autocratic), with a few quotations from Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and the Bible. Other ideas and phrases not acknowledged as quotations are equally secondhand, most of them straight from Postman and Weingartner (Mrs. Jones calls herself a ""subversive"" teacher and encourages the kids to use their built-in ""crap detectors""). Though most of her students are black, Mrs. Jones, who does not believe in race consciousness, presupposes middle class generation problems and complete identification with Woodstock Nation and recommends such books as Catcher in the Rye and Hentoffs Jazz Country in her quite banal list of ""must"" books and movies. One of Maia Wojciechowska's books is also on the list, and this ""novel"" is introduced with a liberal quotation from her 1965 Newberry acceptance speech. As Mrs. Jones keeps saying, bullshit!

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 1971

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1971