Customer Review

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and indulgent, May 9, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Class Dismissed: A Year in the Life of an American High School, A Glimpse into the Heart of a Nation (Hardcover)
As a current Berkeley resident and not-too-long-ago graduate of a similarly "diverse" high school, I was disappointed with "Class Dismissed". The three students that Maran follows around for the better part of a year serve as cardboard cutouts enacting the roles that she expects of them. She fails to discover a narrative arc in her string of anecdotes, or even to relate them in any compelling and nontrivial way to national trends. Her "research" into nation-wide problems in secondary education seems to consist mainly of reading the San Francisco "Chronicle", and the "recommendations" that close the book are trite. While the local color is amusing, Maran indulges in the same sort of apologism as the "entitled" Berkeley Hills parents she criticizes, and some of her scenes depicting students of color are painfully smug. About the only parts of the story that brought sympathetic indignation from this reader were the accounts of Keith Stephens' arrests and batteries.
It may be a good book to get angry at, or to spend an afternoon with if you can borrow it from a friend, but don't expect "Class Dismissed" to materially change the education debate.
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