Friday, June 22, 2012

Speculative Review of the Week: Touched By a Child: A Principal's Story by George Towery

As a reviewer, I'm constantly receiving emails from all over the place with requests to review a variety of books...and I've noticed the vast majority of the requests I get are to review the most tragic looking memoirs.  I've also noticed a trend in the many press releases that flood my inbox.  I like to call this trend "shock and schlock." The adversity faced by the memoirist is pitched as "shocking" and "tragic," and the contents of the press release are thoroughly schlocky, relying too heavily on cheap emotional pandering.   So I've decided to go out on a limb and write a speculative review of some of the memoirs sent my way based on cover art and pitch letters.

This week's pick:  Touched by a Child: A Principal's Story by George Towery

Title:  -100  HOLY INAPPROPRIATE INNUENDO, BATMAN!!!  How could the author NOT have realized the double entendre?!?!  Gross gross gross!!!

Cover art: -10.  Windows?  Clouds?  What do they have to do with serving as a principal in two "modest income" elementary schools?  

Writerly chops/street cred: 0  Towery served as a principal for 40 years, which is no small accomplishment, and he's received many awards for his work in education.  But is he a talented writer?  Who knows.  One trap he didn't fall into, thankfully, is the self-published writer's tendency toward the over-writing.  At 230 pages, maybe it's been edited!!! 

Shock: How adverse the adversity?  +10  As a former teacher, I worked in and with title 1 schools for over 6 years, and it's challenging, exhausting work.  

Schlock: How triumphal the triumph?  +10  Not many principals make it 40 years, let alone make the kind of impact, according to the press release, he seems to have made.  Kudos to him :)

God factor: +10 Besides the heavenly-inspired cover, seems to be devoid of God talk.  (Just a matter of personal taste, I like my memoirs light on the preaching and relatively Jesus free).  

Alternate title:  40 Years in School, But So Much To Learn About Appropriate Educational Memoir Titles

Highly scientific speculative tolerablility rating:   -80.  Despite its awful AWFUL title and horrendous cover art, the premise of this memoir is strong and compelling.  

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