Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Lessons. Most readers of Anisha Lakhani’s novel, Schooled, may not identify with the New York City private school world in which the book is set. I’m not sure whether I understood how much of the novel was comic exaggeration of Lakhani’s own experience as a middle school teacher at a private school in New York and how much was based on the way parents, teachers, administrators and students really behave. Given that, what Lakhani presents in her novel is the coming-of-age story of a first-year teacher, who begins with ideals, compromises those ideals for money, and then returns to the ideals in the end. Shallow lives are presented, and the cast of characters are mostly caricatures. Protagonist Anna Taggart comes closest to a person readers can recognize, but even she behaves in ways that seemed beyond what any character in the flesh would do. I wondered what Frank McCourt would think, given his teaching methods in New York’s public schools. Lakhani dedicated Schooled to her dog, a Shih Tzu named Harold Moscowitz. That might give us a clue as to how tongue-in-cheek she meant this novel to be. If you expect this novel to be a fun read, you’re likely to be pleased with the situations Anna gets herself into, and with her relationships with parents, teachers and students. If you’re looking for deep insight into the human condition, you won’t find yourself thinking such thoughts when you finish this novel.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)

Click here to purchase Schooled from amazon.com.

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