HE CHALK LINE by Jerry Greenfield


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English teacher Earl Kolin flees the switchblade miseries of Manhattan for the peace of teaching in tuck-and-comfy, suburban Harbor View High School. Will all be sweet oblivion? Well, the new school is up on gadgets, with every room bugged with a mike leading to the principal's office. The principal is an administrator and public relations man, who can't even write a memo. Will Earl Kolin (endeared to his students as ""Fatso"" Kolin) allow his students to read the abominable Hell's Acres for their book report? Or-- that Commie-inspired For Whom the Bell Tolls by Whatshisname? One saucer- eyed matron had actually read a page of it! Kolin is asked to resign and refuses. And a JD from Manhattan is at Harbor View High organizing gang ""turfs"", turning Harbor View into Hell's Kitchen. And so the story moves, like a lumbering Art Metal cabinet: now we will study the principal, now the faculty, now the students, now the parents, now the PTA, now the JD, now the Board of Education, in chapter upon chapter of solemn, bearish exposition and lacklustre characterization. Earl Kolin alone stands out as rendered with art, a fat, intractable, Socratic man tearing entrenched sophistries to pieces in interminable dialogues, like a bear who won't drink the hemlock and swats it aside.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1963
Publisher: Chilton