Book - 2001
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A daring, deeply affecting exploration of the links between language and imagination, history and memory. Catrine Evans is a thirteen-year-old American who is sent to an English boarding school after her mother dies of cancer. Thrown into a strange world, Catrine quickly discovers that the fine schooling promised by her Welsh father may be nothing but show. As she finds herself newly alone among glue-sniffing classmates, childhood memories of apple trees and horses are interwoven with hauntings of a motorcycle accident she saw before she left America. Schooling is Catrine's story. Fueled by an unstoppable stream of thoughts and feelings, Catrine shows us the world of Monstead School, peopled by teachers and students at once familiar and strange. Her English teacher, Mr. Betts, is remorseful for a life unlived. Aurora Dyer is a fire-haired girl with a shady past and hopeless future. Grim Ms. Maggone, the girls' housemistress, is unsettled by Catrine and regards her with a wary eye. Chemistry teacher Mr. Gilbert is an alluring and complicated presence. Wholly original in its use of language, theatre, and art to map a girl's life, Schooling is a bold new spin on the traditional coming-of-age story, a literary tour de force.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2001.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385501385
Branch Call Number: MCGO
Characteristics: 314p. 24cm.


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Dec 15, 2013

McGown's style is definitely challenging - the reader must ease into the words before (s)he can ease into the story. The effort is well worth the while, however.

The author leads us into a world of ambiguity where admiration and friendship and where the need to help and protect turn to passion. The shift is subtle but relentless and the reader is always left guessing as to how far things where go, how silent or vocal bystanders will be, how helpless or instigating the characters really are. It's a portrayal of generosity turned weakness and neediness turned cruelty. No one comes out of the story unscathed, reader included.


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