( Links are at the end, after the review!)
I can say for sure that this book struck a few emotions in me. The biggest one being sadness for the children. When I say this, I mean beyond the couple’s two children. The students suffered in more ways than one. From the very beginning you can distinguish the moments where Lawrence really does have a degree of self-importance. His selfishness is seen from the first chapter when he makes the decision that he and his wife would move far away to take jobs in a new town and state. He feels like this is his moment to shine and nothing can get to him, like any true narcissist. Delores allowed her own feelings to be put aside on many occasions with in the first few chapters. You can see how it was that she overlooked so much. Perhaps she felt that if she looked away, it wasn’t real.
Throughout the story there are moments where it unfolds through different characters. I think this is good because it doesn’t give you the opportunity to just view it through one character. Lawrence really did believe in his own mind that he wasn’t doing so much wrong. He was there for a good time and to be these kids’ friends and in turn they worshiped him. He wasn’t happy unless everyone loved him or praised him. That became more apparent whenever he felt Delores wasn’t bowing down to him and kissing his feet as well. That partially feeds her self-doubt and self-worth. She feels in some points that if she just does what he asks that it will make it better. In doing that, she becomes a victim as well.
I’ll be honest; there are moments where I was infuriated by the both of them. Lawrence clearly was in the wrong. He did things he shouldn’t have, and put himself out there for his own self gain and self-worth. He was a predator, and fed off of all the different emotions that his actions caused. He was inappropriate with so many of the girls. He allowed himself to appear ignorant in how teenagers used social media or their social groups in negative ways. Honestly, as an adult I think that if a teacher does not know these kinds of things, and then they’re not fit for their job. He played every person around him. It wasn’t until closer to the end where I really saw the truth in who and what he was. Delores’ reflections on her own actions and her feelings with the trial after the death of Natalie is what makes the reality of that so much more. She realizes that she had fault as well. She didn’t question things as much as she should have, or stupid up more to her husband. That was frustrating and maddening for me. As an educator and a parent, she should have stood up more.
In the end the with the trial being over and things supposedly going back to normal, she sees her own past coming back to haunt her. From the abuse that was dished out from her father to them and also being approached by a teacher during her teenage years. She had to figure out how to choose to be different and break the cycle in many ways.
In reality, the scenarios in this book come to light every day. There are too many people who don’t say something, or victims who believe that things are their fault. Situations like these can become so much worse.
Over all, it was a good read. For me, the emotions were a little rough through the trial part. Mr. Dreyfus did great job of telling the story from a few different sides. You get the sense of the whole rounded story. The only criticism I have is that the reality of what Delores went through as a child and student should have been stated closer to the beginning.
I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Authors Amazon Page: Edward A. Dreyfus
Authors Website: Edward A. Dreyfus