When Mystical Creatures Attack!-Kathleen Founds
novel, experimental style
Mrs. Freedman is trying to teach a class of kids who have no respect for her.
I have to say I enjoyed reading this. The format is very quirky and seems culled from a variety of sources like student essays, forms, notes, and reports. It is experimental and Founds handles it well. The pace is quick and so this is a fast read. This is both its strength and weakness as a book. The voices are at times too various and the segments too short-by the time you comprehend what is going on, the book moves on. What is the book about? A somewhat inappropriate relationship between a teacher and her students. I don’t know, there was something of the tall tale teller in here-stories that are fun to listen to (some proper, real life laugh out louds happened!) but just a smidge too far over the line to be believed/to allow suspension of belief. The teens are fun people with teenage appropriate voices but they are too many to really make an individual impact on me. The combination of the voices and their actions also often contradicted themselves in ways that made some of the stories feel like caricatures. Mrs. Freedman meanwhile is not given closure and is, beyond her relationship with her students, a deeply problematic characterization. Her mental illness is portrayed one-dimensionally, almost a punchline, relying on tired and outdated tropes.
It was really quite a shame-I really enjoyed the format and the humor is very present (a rarity-humor being one of the hardest things to write!) but the characterization and stories were disappointing.