Wednesday, September 9, 2009
My favorite blurb for this book is the one Daniel Pinkwater wrote for himself: "The Education of Robert Nifkin is a true-to-life story of a sensitive and affectionate boy and his heart-warming adventures with his perfectly normal friends in Chicago in the 1950s." That is, if normal includes the high school from hell, complete with anti-Semite teachers, Marxist ROTC leaders, and math taught by copying text into a notebook. Luckily Robert meets some normal friends, who lead him to a progressive school where no one expects students to attend class. Instead, he hangs out at lunch rooms, smokes cigars, and wanders the city. In Pinkwater's world, that is normal.
Robert manages to get a good education, especially during the summer session where the cynical teachers actually challenges the kids to learn. As a kid, I'd enjoy the satire of traditional schools and the cool private school where kids have the freedom to actually learn. As an adult, I couldn't enjoy the joke as much -- these kids deserved better! B
I read this book today in honor of the letter "E" -- yes, it is A-Z Wednesday at Reading At the Beach again.