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Month in review

Reviews:
Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm
Amulet 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie
Bad Matter by Alexandra Duncan
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Civil War on Sunday (Magic Tree House #21) by Mary Pope Osborne
A Country Mouse in the Town House by Henrietta
Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
Dingoes at Dinnertime (Magic Tree House #20) by Mary Pope Osborne
Dragon of the Red Dawn (Magic Tree House #37) by Mary Pope Osborne
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Horrible Harry and the Ant Invasion by Suzy Kline
Hurry Freedom by Jerry Stanley
I'm Not Going to Chase the Cat Today! by Jessica Harper
Inside Time by Tim Sullivan
Inside a Zoo in the City by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer
Lost Worlds: Adventures in the Tropical Rainforest by Bruce M. Beehler
Loudmouth George and the New Neighbors by Nancy Carlson
Mermaid by Robert Reed
Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks and Sue Hendra
Never Blood Enough by Joe Haldeman
The Nine Lives of Aristotle by Dick King Smith
The Order of Things by Barbara Ann Kipfer
Owly Volume 3: Flying Lessons by Andy Runton
Pigsty by Mark Teague
Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Killing Mr. Griffin

Killing Mr. Griffin: 05/31/10

Gossamer cover art (Link goes to Powells)Kids these days. They're out of control. They can't read. They can't write. They're just violent pot smoking thugs. They need tough love from their teachers. But can the teachers survive teaching such barbarians? That's the gist of Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan and about half the other plots coming out of the late 1970s, early 1980s (be they in the form of television, film or novels).

In the case of Killing Mr. Griffin, Griffin is a tough new English lit teacher. He hasn't been there long enough to be an "institution" at the school and thus doesn't have the respect of students he's supposed to be teaching. He expects a lot from his class and won't accept late assignments. The problem with his strict approach to teaching is he doesn't give any hint at being fair or reasonable.

The small group of students portrayed quickly take on a mob mentality. Susan, who ends up being painted as the sweet victim of circumstance comes up with the idea of doing away with him but it's Mark who actually puts the plan into action. The group dynamic with Mark at the helm doesn't ring true to me. Of course there is school violence but it's typically aimed at the school, during school hours and the kids who commit the crimes work solo or possibly in pairs. They don't have a ring leader who comes up with "the perfect crime." They just don't.

Between the accidental death of Mr. Griffin and the end the plot takes a few more unusual turns to show how a single psychotic mind can manipulate a group into doing horrendous things. The whole thing reads like a very dated, "very special" episode. I know the book has won awards and is on the most challenged list but for me the book is a product of its era and doesn't stand up well. Frankly, it would have annoyed me if I'd read it when it was first published.

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Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Tuesday, June, 1, 2010 at 07:56:06

Kim V

It is a shame when an older book doesn't hold up well, but thanks for the honest review.



Comment #2: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 20:13:57

Pussreboots

I think my negative review is more a reflection of my preferences in books than on the book itself. I don't think I would have liked it any more had I read it when it was first published. However, a number of my friends still do speak highly of Killing Mr. Griffin.



Comment #3: Friday, June, 4, 2010 at 22:12:06

Katie

What a flash from the past! This was one of my absolute favorites in middle school. Do you remember the movie version-ish? Teaching Mrs. Tingle!



Comment #4: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 20:23:21

Pussreboots

I don't remember the movie tie in. Sorry.