Luke Entelechy and his best friend Billy are recent graduates trying to write a book together, but life keeps getting in the way. So they decide to head to Miami almost on a whim and take teaching jobs hoping that the routine and the decent holidays will give them time to focus on writing.
One of them starts working in an A rated school, the other in a school on the edge of failing but both are beset with problems. Billy is constantly worried that his school principal will find out he’s gay and find a way to terminate his contract. It wouldn’t be hard to find a way as Billy is spending most of his time partying with a driven female teacher from Luke’s school. She’s the kind of woman that works hard and plays hard and soon the pair are struggling with their excessive lifestyle.
Luke faces different problems, being a white teacher in a school full of people of colour exposes him to both obvious and systemic racism on a daily basis. It also forces him to confront his lack of understanding of his own privilege and the harsh realities these kids face on a daily basis.
This book is incredibly raw. It’s about as far removed from ‘Dead Poets Society’ as you can get. To be honest it’s more brutal than ‘Dangerous Minds’. The main difference being the teachers, as they are both so young they are busy sowing their wild oats and making all the mistakes people in their 20’s make. Even amongst the older teachers they mix with there is a fair smattering of disillusion and pettiness.
This isn’t a cosy book, the language is very strong, so it won’t be for everyone. But it is a pretty substantial meal, like chewing through a pile of really spicy chicken wings left over from a take-away a few days ago.