THE SHADOW SCHOLAR by Dave Tomar

THE SHADOW SCHOLAR

How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat

KIRKUS REVIEW

Expanding on his 2010 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, written under the name “Ed Dante,” Tomar offers a book-length account of his decade writing research papers for college students on any topic and at any length.

For the most part, the author blames the system for his misdeeds. His overpriced degree from Rutgers never got him further than “fluid bottler” at a shady cleaning company. “As it turned out,” he writes, “helping students cheat on papers was the only available job for which my college had prepared me.” Besides, he reasons, there would be no need for his service if the current generation of entitled, Facebook-addicted, subliterate brats hadn’t been raised to think they could buy their way through anything. Also, he was good at it, routinely burning through sleepless, frantic weeks spewing out lightning-speed papers, sometimes as many as seven per day. His work became impressively ambitious. Sure Samuel Johnson could write Rasselas in a week, but could he have churned out a 160-page paper with 50 sources on “international financial reporting standards” in a mere five days? Although his book suffers from some obvious padding, as he wanders in and out of stories involving his love life, poker buddies and psychotic road trips, Tomar is a funny guy who writes with slangy, over-the top verve, veering between self-justification and self-hatred. He also provides some genuine inside dirt on the business practices of sleazy for-profit colleges, who provide some of his steadiest clients.

A cynical, guilt-obsessed, intermittently page-turning account of a first-class bullshit artist and his never-ending search for redemption.

 

 

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60819-723-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2012




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