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Teach Me Hardcover – August 25, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; First Edition edition (August 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595140840
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595140845
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Carolina is a high-school senior who feels she is too smart and mature for small-town Alabama life. Then she meets Mr. Mann, the new language arts teacher who is obsessed with Emily Dickinson. After she makes him feel at ease in his new job, she feels he is worthy of her attention, and the two begin an intense, clandestine affair, which is consummated on her 18th birthday. The love ends devastatingly for the teen when Mr. Mann suddenly dumps her and quickly marries another woman right before graduation. Carolina finally confides in her best friend, Schuyler, and he helps her try to figure out who Mr. Mann is and why he acted as he did. Nelson's writing is wonderfully eloquent and full of poetic references and wry humor, yet the plot and characters are occasionally chaotic. It is difficult to identify with Carolina, who not only thinks she's better than everyone else, but also goes to extreme lengths to seek revenge on her former lover. Mr. Mann is no more sympathetic. As his mystery unravels, readers discover, along with Carolina, how dull he is. Still, the story is juicy and cautionary without being preachy, which gives it wide teen appeal.–Jane Cronkhite, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. High-school senior Carolina (" Nine") is longing for something, and it appears in the form of her English teacher, Mr. Mann. They dance around each other, until Mr. Mann takes the first step in Nine's direction, and on her eighteenth birthday, they consummate their relationship. Several months later Mr. Mann abruptly ends it, refusing to give a reason. Nine's quest to find out why he has left her becomes manic, leading her to childish, unpredictable, almost dangerous behavior. Nelson treads new territory here, and she does some things remarkably for a first novelist. She eloquently captures both the yearning that comes with loving someone who doesn't seem attainable and the utter despair when the affair ends. The plotting, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. There's no reason why Mr. Mann shouldn't reveal his reasons for suddenly marrying someone else, other than to push the action. Moreover, the melodramatic ending, which allows Mr. Mann to be a hero, rings false on several levels. However, teens--who often long for passion themselves--will recognize the fury of it in Nine's story. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

R.A. Nelson is the author of the novels Teach Me, Breathe My Name, Days of Little Texas, and Throat. He was chosen a Horn Book Newcomer and his books have been nominated to the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list and recognized by the Parents' Choice Awards, the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, Booksense Kid Picks, the Miami Herald Best Books of the Year, teenreads.com Best Books of the year, and others. Nelson is also published in Germany and Hungary. He lives with his family in Alabama and works at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Nelson is a recipient of NASA's prestigious Silver Snoopy Award for "outstanding support provided to the Space Shuttle program." Teach Me has been optioned by Protagonist Films for a feature film. Check out his website at http://www.ranelsonbooks.com/.

Customer Reviews

The middle and ending parts kept me guessing each word I read.
Ronald A. Stribling
Though I felt some negativity towards both of the main characters, Nine and Mr. Mann, the book left me in a content with them, and their relationship.
Katie Dahlberg
I recommend this book to anyone who wants an interesting story about forbidden love, or shall i say an obsession over a teacher.
Crystal Hebert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
R. A. Nelson's debut novel has certainly caused quite a stir since its publication in September. With its salaciously taboo subject matter (a doomed love affair between teacher and student) and an unrelenting pace that keeps readers gripped until the very last word, TEACH ME approaches the line of what defines groundbreaking, controversial YA fiction --- and barrels right through it. With plenty of passion, intensity and reckless behavior throughout, this tornado of a book illuminates a number of haunting life questions and shocking answers that will gnaw away at readers' consciences long after the final page has been turned.

Seventeen-year-old Carolina "Nine" Livingston is what most adults would call "a good kid." She excels in school, doesn't drink or do drugs, and gets along with her parents. She has one friend (Schuyler Green, a boy) whom she's known since grade school, and spends much of her time thinking about the universe and reading poetry. For most of her life, she has lived a fairly normal existence until the day she locks eyes with Mr. Mann, her English teacher --- the split second when everything changes forever.

From that moment on, Nine and Mr. Mann are inseparable. From the classroom to the bedroom, the two exchange more than their fair share of witty banter and clandestine touches (including Nine's virginity, when she is safely eighteen), until Mr. Mann's decision to end the affair with an abrupt "Everything has to stop." Naturally, Nine is heartbroken --- especially when she finds out that he is getting married to a girl she's never heard of before.

It is at this point that the novel gets interesting, albeit twisted.
Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Freebern on December 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a YA novel that uses language beautifully, but has some issues in terms of plot. The writing is poetic and often hits the nail right on the head in terms of capturing emotions or moments. The relationship between Nine and her teacher is discussed in a very real, honest way, and I liked that Nine's emotions were the main focus of that aspect of the story. It's not afraid to be sexy, but the book is also much more interesting for placing the focus on Nine's bliss and destruction rather than on the nature of her relationship with her teacher (meaning it's not so much an Issue Book as it is a story about this girl's experience). There's some problems with that focus, too. The story is occasionally too melodramatic, and some of the plot points (especially those related to Nine's reactions to events in the story) are really unbelievable or portrayed as less bizarre than they are. That made empathizing with Nine difficult at times, and removed me from the story entirely at others.

Despite its flaws, I enjoyed this book and read it very quickly. I think it's worth reading, as long as you're willing to suspend disbelief now and then at times when you normally shouldn't have to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katie Dahlberg on April 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've read so many novels about student/teacher relationships, so I was a little skeptical about this one, but I just after the first chapter, I knew it was going to be different.

The entire story is told through Carolina`s, or Nine as she's nicknamed, point of view. She's probably one of the most unique and different characters I've ever read. Her thoughts aren't ever really focused on one thing. She's what you call a scatter-brain, but it works very well. Her story is full of completely off-topic ramblings, but it only makes her character much more entertaining to read.

It was one of those stories where I got so wrapped up that I'd actually start to feel. For example, when Mr. Mann, Nine's dreamy new poetry teacher, breaks up with her out of the blue, my chest literally throbbed for Nine. Another reason Nine was so different to read about- she didn't sit down and take it. After awhile, Nine's love and heartbreak for Mr. Mann turned into a full obsession. He hadn't given her an excuse for breaking her heart, and she won't stop until she gets one.

This isn't the story of a student/teacher relationship and how it came to be. This is a story about the aftermath of such. Though I felt some negativity towards both of the main characters, Nine and Mr. Mann, the book left me in a content with them, and their relationship.

It's not recent, but I definitely recommend it. I can guarantee you that it's the most diverse student/teacher story you'll ever read about, and it'll probably become your favorite as well!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Danix15 on February 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
To start off, this is one of those books that is so emotionally gripping, you don't stop thinking about it until long after you finally put it down. It's like a melting pot of all the emotions people don't like to feel: anger, pain, sadness...and rarely happiness.

Of course, although this is a beautifully written, somewhat haunting book, I was a bit hesitant to read it at first, because of the taboo relationship between teacher and student. However, I put aside any reluctance I had and picked up a copy. And I was so pleased that I had.

It's an intriguing, inspiring work thats's so well-written, it makes it feel like the story is happening to YOU. What surprised me the most was that after I researched more about the author, it turns out...R.A. Nelson is a MAN. Now, I don't know if not knowing was just me being ignorant, but I was stunned that he could write the emotions of a pubescent girl so well while never experiencing them first-hand!

This book was also filled with witticisms. Sometimes, they were a bit hard to understand, but others mentioned hit me right atop the head and made me laugh in appreciation. I had never read such an interestingly-written book before. Perhaps the most absorbing arc was what happened to the main character, Nine, after the relationship unraveled.

After all, as playwright William Congreve once said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
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