WHAT HAPPENED TO MR. FORSTER? by Gary W. Bargar

WHAT HAPPENED TO MR. FORSTER?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It's 1958 and the Louisa May Alcott Elementary School in Kansas City has a new sixth-grade teacher, the first man in its history. Mr. Forster is a superior teacher, sympathetic but firm when he has to be, and for one boy he makes all the difference--transforming him from blubbery Billy Lou who can't hit a softball to group member Louis, respected for his writing talent. (A new boy who becomes Louis' friend, plus the fragility of his popularity, makes this believable.) After Louis scores with his story of superhero Mr. Mystification, Mr. Forster introduces the kids to the King Arthur stories and they decide enthusiastically to do a play, with Louis writing the script. The play, presented on the last day before Christmas vacation, is a success; but Mr. Forster is fired soon after school resumes. Led by the Baptist minister's wife and another mother who wrongly blames Mr. Forster for her misfit daughter's miseries, a group of mothers deems him unfit: as his male roommate might indicate, Mr. Forster is a ""queer."" All of this is totally predictable, yet reasonably affecting, as Bargar crosses the rising warmth of Louis' acceptance and general class cohesion with the surfacing menace of the righteous mothers.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1981
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin