30 September 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Learn Me Good by John Pearson

I am almost ashamed to say I purchased this book 15 months ago on my Kindle 2 during a buying spree, it quickly got lost. I found it again when the Kindle 2 got collections, but it quickly got lost in the “memoir” collection. I found it yet AGAIN and made myself promise to read it when my Kindle 3 came in, even making a special category for “read now” that has less than 12 books in it. So, I finally read it. I think part of my hesitation is that good self-published memoirs are rare, fabulous self-published memoirs appear to be non-existent.

I went into this one not really knowing what to expect. My husband is currently in the midst of a career change at the age of 30-something himself – into teaching, of course. He substitutes so I hear all the stories, etc. Going into reading this particular book, I wasn’t really expecting too much difference.


I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at a book all year. This is seriously one of the funniest books ever. Yes, it was heartwarming, etc etc. Whatever. It was downright funny. The author has this wry dry sense of humor that just left me doubled over. I think I even peed myself a little a few times. My husband asked several times if I needed some water. I’m talking big tear-streaming laughs. The dude is funny. The best part? It’s all told through emails to his buddy from the job he got laid off from (almost) 4 years prior. So you can just see the friend on the other side wondering what in the world John has gotten himself into.

What’s more… the book felt real. I kind of want to adopt John and make him come teach at my kid’s school here in Austin (he’s apparently from Dallas, hey, it’s not that far! – is that stalkerish?). Then I want to invite him for dinner (that’s not weird, is it? wait… don’t tell me) and have some really good laughs with the guy. He is funny, yes, but he’s also genuine. His love for those kids shows through on each page, even as he’s calling them the demon spawn that they are. Okay, maybe not that MP kid, but hey…

There’s one part of the book, and I won’t post it because I don’t want to give any spoilers. I really really want you all to go read this book. It’s fabulous. But there’s a part where he makes a comment that really almost made me tear up (and not from laughing). It makes me realize that this author has found his calling in teaching – and perhaps in writing too. To him, I have nothing but respect. Writers always get my respect… teachers, well teachers get my reverence.

Good for him. And good for me too. I’ve not been touched by a single off-the-hip passage in a very long time, especially not in a hilarious memoir such as this. This was also very well put together and it had all the essential parts of a memoir for me. SO many don’t have redemption at the end. And I don’t mean that all of them are drug memoirs and they find themselves either – there’s different kinds of redemption and I really like to think that Mr. Pearson found it in himself as well, maybe even while writing this silly little book.

I recommend this book for anyone that loves reading about the crazy things kids do and for anyone that likes memoirs in general. This is one of the very few that are going on my “must read” list this year.

Jack Woodson was a thermal design engineer for four years until he was laid off from his job. Now, as a teacher, he faces new challenges. Conference calls have been replaced with parent conferences. Product testing has given way to standardized testing. Instead of business cards, Jack now passes out report cards. The only thing that hasn’t changed noticeably is the maturity level of the people surrounding him all day. Learn Me Good is a hilarious first-person account, inspired by real life experiences. Through a series of emails to Fred Bommerson, his buddy who still works at Heat Pumps Unlimited, Jack chronicles a year-in-the-life of a brand new teacher. With subject lines such as “Irritable Vowel Syndrome,” “In math class, no one can hear you scream,” and “I love the smell of Lysol in the morning,” Jack writes each email with a dash of sarcasm and plenty of irreverent wit.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book count for 2010: 74

One Response to “Learn Me Good by John Pearson”

  1. John Pearson 30 September 2010 at 8:50 pm Permalink

    Candy, again I can’t thank you enough for this wonderful review. It is by far the best one I have gotten in quite a long while, and it made me blush in some parts! 🙂

    I’m really glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for passing on the word to all of your friends and readers.

    John Pearson
    John Pearson´s last blog post ..Friday Night Sites

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