Thursday, 12 April 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing

Life in the Dales

I started reading the Gervase Phinn autobiographies a few years ago and found them great fun. Phinn started out as a teacher in a small school in the Yorkshire Dales and progressed on to school inspector. These are his memoirs of this career - I suppose they are a school version of the James Herriot books. I think that they have to be heavily condensed and pretty fictionalised but I might be wrong on this account.

These came to an end and then I discovered the novels by Jack Sheffield, these are very similar to Phinn's books but very definitely fiction. At present these are coming out at the rate of one a year and I eagerly await each new volume, especially as they generally end on a real cliff hanger. The other appeal of these books is that they start in the same year that I started school so while I went to a school in a Kent town rather than a rural village I can remember some of the things that Sheffield talks about.

I was quite excited to see a new book in this vein on the library shelf last week (All Teachers Great and Small by Andy Seed) however after the genius that is Phinn and Sheffield this just feels like a pale imitation, it is *another* memoir/novel of a teacher just starting out in a rural school in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1980s...yawn.

Now I know if something is selling then there are likely to be more in the same style but really - another one just the same as those that already exist? I will try to read it to the end but I think that this might be a book too far. If only it was set in another county I'd be okay but I'm only on page 27 but I already feel like I've read it before but in a better, funnier format.

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