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Schools Out [Paperback]



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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophic thriller July 4 2007
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The cover blurbs lead one to expect a thriller of some sort - think Class Trip. If this is your expectation expect to be disappointed. One can be a third of the way through the book and still have little tension causing you to read until 3 a.m. - my test for a good thriller or mystery. And unlike The Class Trip, School's Out will not lead you towards understanding of an individual's aberrant behavior. Rather the strength of School's Out is philosophical and group oriented. Through the rather detailed exploration of the personalities of individuals who must deal with middle school class, the book explore how individuals and groups cope with "reality" - especially the adult coping through becoming an observer, the middle school class coping through uniform compliance. Suicide, physical assault, and other "thriller" plot elements counterbalance the philosophic bent to create a very enjoyable read.

On the down side, the translation is at times awkward. I would like to explain the difficulties away by claiming British usage but phrase such as "two crew" rather than "two crew members" disrupt one's reading more than simple British-isms. The book could be improved by a bit of editing - in the early part of the book the scene setting is overly long for its narrative function. But Dufosse is definitely an author worth watching - entertaining and thought-provoking.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars drudgery July 18 2007
By Doralyn Rush - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I want to say that I only managed to get to page 78 in this book and even that was difficult. The write-ups on this book make it sound like it's about students when they didn't even enter the picture until page 54 and only in a perfunctory interaction (and that was the only interaction through page 78). What this book really seems to be about is a boring, solitary bachelor who dwells far too much on his own thoughts (annoying attempts at deep thinking and quasi-intellectualism that end up being nothing but annoying). I could not force myself to finish this book. I figure if it had anything to say, it should have started saying it before a quarter through the book. This was just tedious. I read hordes of books, particularly for young adults (as an English teacher) and I would never recommend this.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly creepy thriller! June 14 2007
By Mystery Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
School's Out is a really intelligent, dark, and weirdly funny thriller. The students in Pierre Hoffman's classroom are out to get him, but he's not sure why, and the disturbing messages he keeps receiving aren't helping. I couldn't put this book down! Definitely for fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor and garrulous writing style. Jan. 18 2008
By shyguy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked up the book because of the reviews and acclaims on the cover and the interesting beginning to the novel. After the first page however, it turns out to be a very badly written piece of work. I gave up by around page 50. The narrator describes in excess every single, physical, unimportant detail of the setting or of minor characters and engages in poor similes. His style is badly written. Flat characters are introduced briefly which have no bearing on the plot. Don't waste your time on it.
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing waste of time Sept. 18 2014
By Joel Kramer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"School's Out" never seems to live up to the promise of the positive reviews I read. Described as "sinister", reminiscent of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, and a "re-imagining of Lord of the Flies", the book ends up seeming rather hollow, and never lives up to any of that praise. I was shocked to read that it won a prize in France for first novels.

The book focuses on classroom 9F. Their young, first year teacher, has just committed suicide by jumping from the classroom window, and Pierre Hoffman takes over. He's warned by his fellow teachers and by one of the students of 9F that something's wrong in the class, and that he's in danger, but he never really seems endangered. He gets a strange package in the mail, and suffers through anonymous hangup phone calls, but that's it. He discovers that one of 9F's elementary school teachers is also dead, but as the novel moves toward a surprising climax the whole thing ultimately feels pointless, because the author never lets us get to know any of the students. They act as one group, which is part of the point of the novel, but we never really care about that group, so we aren't really that bothered by 9F's fate.

I guess it's possible that a book like this resonates differently in our culture from the way it does in France, but I felt like reading this was a waste of my time.

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