In a time when the importance of teachers has been unfairly challenged, Bob Boone gives us a collection of simply told, hard-edged tales from the lives of educators and their students. These rich, multifaceted stories ring true with details gleaned over the course of a full life. Reading them, one feels as if they are entering another version of our familiar reality, where secrets thrive in quiet classrooms and a passionate love of the pitfalls and victories of teaching motivates the creation of narrative."
-Lisa Locascio, University of Southern California, Recipient of the 2011 John Steinbeck Award for Fiction
These aren't your typical teacher stories. In the living and breathing world of brick, glass and glue sticks, we want our teachers to leave their real lives-their darknesses, their longings, their secrets and desires-back at their desks and locked in their lockers in the faculty room. But this is Bob Boone's school. There is no safe place here for the containment of these things. The best Boone's characters can do is take off their jackets at the door, empty the pockets of their pants-their shreds and crumplings, their histories and regret, their hearts and longings-stuff it all in the pockets and sleeves of their jackets, drape their coats over the backs of their chairs, and just like the rest of us, cross their fingers and pray to God that nothing falls out before the bell rings.
-Billy Lombardo, Author, 'The Man with Two Arms', Recipient of the 2011 Nelson Algren Award for the Short Story"
The stories are wonderful and beautifully written, with insights into the interior of a parallel, minimalist universe of the everyday. What makes these stories ultimately so arresting is how they capture the quiet, unspoken fears, the normalcy of unfinished relationships, and the inner strength it takes to face each day. The quietness of the stories belies their energy and the resilience of the characters which becomes a moving celebration of the human spirit.
-Milos Stehlik, Critic for Worldview on WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio
Bob Boone gives us an insider's view into the world of Forest High. These stories are spare, terse and capture the quirkiness of characters and circumstance utterly consistent with the world of schools-a world where, as Boone well knows, every story implies another. An astute observer, Bob Boone writes with humor, compassion and insight.
-Larry Starzec, Fiction Editor, 'Willow Review', Professor of English at College of Lake County
Implicit in these tales are basic human questions: what does it mean to be a good teacher or a good person? What, for that matter, is meant by the phrase 'good school'? In this age of standardized tests and the relentless attempt at quantifying students and teachers alike, Bob's stories offer a refreshingly human portrayal of his characters. He never fails to see the comedy in the conflict between the conventional and unconventional, and he portrays his characters with nothing less than a sympathetic eye. In these stories, Bob always looks beyond the Forest to the individual trees.
-John O'Connor, Author, 'Wordplaygrounds', Teacher at New Trier High School