15 June 2011 ~ 2 Comments

Thirteen Years Old in the Fourth Grade by Hannah Faye

When the author sent me this book asking for a review last month, I was kind of excited. A memoir – my favorite. And she’s written more than one book, usually a very good sign. I’m not really sure what to say other than the only reason I kept reading this book is I was waiting for some form of redemption in it. It never happened.

The reason I’m giving this book one star is because it really is badly written. Sentences aren’t complete, the grammar is bad in places, the spelling is horrible (loose / lose and things like that were pretty prevalent). The content is kind of shambled. It’s so obviously self-edited and self-published that it hurts. It’s really a shame because there are SO many absolutely wonderful self-published titles – this just isn’t one of them.

For anyone that wants to try to wade through it… the story wasn’t worth it. There was no redemption (well, except for maybe the students) at the end. The stories are over-the-top and hard to believe. The bitterness that drips off the pages just makes me sad. What is so interesting is that I think she honestly could have been a good teacher. She seems to have good ideas, but the negativity and bitterness just overtakes the entire book. It’s really sad.

The biggest problem I had with this book is there seems to be no point to it other than to allow the author to rip apart the people in her life that seemingly gave her so many chances. There was no big “blowing open the educational system” or some inner redemption that we all crave from memoirs. It was must mean-spirited and bitter.

My husband is a new elementary school teacher and I asked him to read it after me thinking that I was missing something, but no. If possible, I think he disliked it more than I did.

I wish I had something good to say about it, the writing, lack of editing and grammar errors make this a one star book. The actual content just puts in the final nail.

For that reason, I really cannot recommend this book to anyone.

If you are looking for a great memoir by a teacher, I would highly recommend Learn Me Good by John Pearson. It’s well written and honest – with a lot of heart.

‘Thirteen Years Old in the Fourth Grade’ is an autobiography detailing Faye’s experience as a beginning teacher in the public school system. She spent nearly seven years tutoring, camp counseling and finally teaching in one of the harshest urban public school districts in America. This is her ventilation and release. Brace yourself as she exposes some shocking truths and hopes to inform those who desire a position in the education field…those who truly want to be good teachers, principals and administrators.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Book count for 2011: 34

2 Responses to “Thirteen Years Old in the Fourth Grade by Hannah Faye”

  1. Hannah Faye 15 June 2011 at 11:45 am Permalink

    As the author of this book I would first like to thank you Candy for taking the time to honestly review my book. It was, as you said my request. Now, I would like to reply to what you have said.

    First of all, redemption is not a necessity in memoirs and if anyone expects there to be one all the time that is their mistake, not mine. As the reviewer stated above, she is giving me one star because it is mostly badly written. My question is by whose standards? Sometimes, as avid readers we must be willing to push pass the complexities of the english langauge and see the greater meaning behind the words. Now, I’m not saying its unimportant, but what I am saying is that it shouldn’t be so important that we cannot see anything else. Yes, it is self-published and I made sure that was obvious. I would like to ask you if you have read any professionally published titles lately? I have. I just read ‘Demonology’ by Rick Moody and ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X.’ And they both have errors in them. Books are sometimes like people, Candy…none of them are going to be absolutely perfect. If you knew anything about true authorship, you would know that being an author is sometimes being an artist of words and sometimes means going against the rules of order in writing. I am sorry but I wrote this particular piece from my heart, as it came to me; almost as if I were telling a person a story, my story. And if you believe it is hard to believe…your feelings are exactly right. It is hard to believe. It is hard to believe how a person could be treated so poorly and how the children could be treated so harshly in a system that “claims” to be setting them on the right paths. It should make you sad. It should make you angry. It should prompt you to action. And if you didn’t notice, I did place in the summary of this book that it was a VENTILATION. It shouldn’t have surprised you when I ripped those people apart. I ripped them apart just as much as they did me. And now I am telling readers how it all happened. As for them “giving me so many chances” well, I don’t know about that. Some of them did. In any case, thank you for your non-recommendation. It is my bestseller. 😉 http://www.arapperscollege.weebly.com

    Hannah R.K. Faye

  2. Candy 15 June 2011 at 11:49 am Permalink

    Good luck, Hannah. I stand by my review. The grammar and editing are really bad. Venting or not, when you publish it, my opinion is that it has to be at least glanced at. This has too many errors. I read a lot of self and professionally published titles. Most have a problem here or there. This was riddled with them, unfortunately. Like I said, good luck. This just wasn’t a book *for me*. Someone, some where surely will enjoy it.

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