Back in the late 1970s, Nancy Adams had a fling with her high school teacher Russell Parsons. Twenty years later, widowed and adrift and living in her childhood home outside Jacksonville, Florida, she accepts Russell's offer to teach at her old high school. He's now the principal.
Nancy, a once-aspiring teacher who wrote book reviews during her time in Atlanta, is anything but a bookworm—we first encounter her sitting on a dock plugging Coke bottles with a gun. But she's unprepared for the foul mouths and minimal attention spans of her students. She doesn't know what to expect from Russell, whose beautiful wife never recovered mentally from a stroke she suffered after giving birth to twins. Nancy does know what to expect from the flirtatious Dell Rose, a handsome one-time basketball star who now coaches the school team, but she isn't sure what she wants from him, either. And then there's Dana, a mysterious, prematurely aged senior whose baby may be Russell's. Why else would he extend such preferential treatment to her? Nancy slowly makes her mark while becoming increasingly committed to her new calling. Much of her "education" as a teacher will be familiar to readers of high school fiction: She learns to deal with faculty members' egos, students' special needs and school board politics. But Nancy has such a lively, offbeat presence that you take an instant rooting interest in her. And Baker (The Flamingo Rising, 1997, etc.) depicts the other characters so well, and with such understanding, that the novel overcomes its somewhat dated quality.
A winning portrait of a high school teacher who struggles with her new career and memories of her own days as a student.