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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dear Reader, 22 Mar. 2009
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This review is from: Dear Teacher (Paperback)
Where to start with Jack Sheffield's third book about life as Head teacher at the local school in Ragley-on-the-Forest. We pick up another year at the school as the seventies turn into the eighties and see the changes that come with it, within the education system, the local village and nationally.

The undercurrent of the story for me is the relationship between Jack and the two Henderson sisters, Laura and Beth. Reading as we do, we see him flounder with his friendship with Laura, who has misinterpreted everything, whilst as a reader we know that he only has feelings and eyes for Beth, a fellow Head teacher, and at times you want to scream `just get the courage Jack' to put your love life in order.

It is an easy read, and has taken less than two days to read but I did not think it was as funny as the last book. The book needs to be read now; there are so many references to life in 1979/1980 that are actually a dig at the way life is like now. The excitement of personal stereos so only you can listen to the music without inflicting it on everyone else, comes in a generation now plugged into iPods. Abiding by union rules not to administer medicines in school, shows us that no one can help now, in fear of being held accountable if little Terry Earnshaw's cough medicine falls into the wrong hands or if Terry is given too much. Getting a television in the local pub, The Royal Oak is going to cause the local football team's post match team talks too much of an "extraction". No doubt they would be watching the football on it and talking about how successful Chelsea is (in division two then). Do not think in the times of the credit crunch that finances do not get mentioned by Jack Sheffield, they do. Talk of mortgages rising to above 15 per cent and that no one will be able to afford to buy a house if properties go over twenty thousand pounds. Prescription charges were due to rise to a ridiculous 70 pence and television license detector vans that are going to catch those who did have a licence and the licence had gone up to a staggering £34. Read the book and translate it into what is happening in the here and now. A clever idea, but I am not sure if it would hold up in twenty years time when life will have changed again quite radically and all these digs at the way life is now will be lost on the reader.

This book can be read as a social history of the late seventies early eighties with a smattering of just how wonderfully funny children can be with such innocence. If you want to know how events at these times effected every day folk, and how topics of conversation in the pub, the local shop and in the work place centred around who shot JR, and whether the notorious milk snatcher can deal with the miners and insuring a cow for ten thousand pounds than you cannot go far wrong with this book. This is a book about life but as a reader you know exactly what happens, in these events, and I am not sure if that spoils or enhances this book.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Jo D'Arcy
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Portsmouth, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 654