12-year-old James hates life at his hippy boarding school where lessons are optional, homework forbidden and school rules decided by democratic vote. All he wants is an academic education with proper exams. When a strict new maths teacher strides into this world of peace, love and fringed ponchos, James latches onto him as a symbol of hope. At first, Mervyn’s eccentricities seem comic but as a more tragic story unfolds, the adult James is forced to confront his own part in a grand downfall.
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Book source: Netgalley
I found this book so interesting. You've got a hardened college grad who is somewhere in Europe (or Scotland?) with a voice (as an adult) reminiscent of but totally different from Catcher in the Rye.
As a child, the voice is precocious without being out of character, as James finds himself trying to win the favor of a teacher he believes is the smartest one at his school. We find some deep character flaws in Mervyn himself, and share James' coming of age as he grows away from old friends and figures himself out as a person.
I liked the easy transitions between present day and past times. Every character presented had some kind of depth, except for maybe one that James briefly meets on his way back to the school as an adult.
Overall, a great book to read. Something I would definitely recommend and pick up at a library. As far as my shelves at home, I'm not sure if there will be a print copy, but the e-book is a decent enough price to have on your e-reader.
edit: it is available in paperback, and again, for a very reasonable price. Definitely one for the shelves at home.