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The Looney Experiment: 12/31/17

The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds

The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds is about a boy struggling through life: his father has run off, he's bullied at school, the girl of his dreams doesn't know he exists, and he has a name he hates. Then a substitute English teacher with an unconventional teaching methodology comes in and saves the day at great personal expense.

The book, though, is so by-the-numbers, that there's nothing new here.

The boy's name is Atticus, to hone in on the continued popularity of To Kill a Mockingbird. The bully uses his name against him, calling him "Fatticus" at every possible opportunity (and often in front of uncaring teachers). And, surprise, surprise, our hero doesn't know why he has this name, so that it has to be explained to him later in the book.

Then there's Mr. Looney (yes that's his real name). He replaces a female teacher, as is typical of these stories. He's better at controlling the class and he's more understanding to the poor, ignored, untaught boys. Because of course female teachers can't or don't want to teach boys.

There's the whole un-schooling bit of the book. Schools these days with their Common Core are too hard on kids. There's too much testing and not enough character building. Or something. So Mr. Looney doesn't give any tests until he's forced to.

And finally there's the BULLY who will ruin it for everyone because he's a BULLY. It's what he does. Of course he does it by crying crocodile tears about how badly Mr. Looney is treating the class. Mind you, Mr. Looney doesn't seem to be actually teaching the class anything, but that's not what the bully is complaining about. Of course the bully's word is taken more seriously than any other students. Because he's a BULLY and they always win in these types of books.

One star

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