Saturday, January 21

Book Review: Alone in the Classroom

Title: Alone in the Classroom

Author: Elizabeth Hay

Pages: EBook (209 pages)

Summary: In a small prairie school in 1929, Connie Flood helps a backward student, Michael Graves, learn how to read. Observing them and darkening their lives is the principal, Parley Burns, whose strange behaviour culminates in an attack so disturbing its repercussions continue to the present day.

Connie’s niece, Anne, tells the story. Impelled by curiosity about her dynamic, adventurous aunt and her more conventional mother, she revisits Connie’s past and her mother’s broken childhood. In the process, she unravels the enigma of Parley Burns and the mysterious (and unrelated) deaths of two young girls. As the novel moves deeper into their lives, the triangle of principal, teacher, student opens out into other emotional triangles – aunt, niece, lover; mother, daughter, granddaughter – until a sudden, capsizing love thrusts Anne herself into a newly independent life.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was one of those books that just didn't work for me, I enjoyed a previous novel by the author, so I was looking forward to reading another book her, but this book was a bit of a letdown.

I found the way the story was told was one of the biggest issues I had with the book, because the book was told through someone who wasn't actually present during the most of the events, but was re-telling what was told to her, was one of the issues I had with the book. It felt more like the story was being told to me in passing, it felt like things were messing and that I never got the whole story. The first half of the book actually interested me, and had that been the main focus of the book and had been told by one of the characters who was actually present during the time of the story or a third party narrator, I think I would have enjoyed the book more. I found the part of the story about Anne was boring and a big turn off for the book. I didn't like her as a character and didn't care for her part in the second story, which caused me to push through the second half of the book.

The writing quality in this book was just as good as the previous book I read, while the plot itself wasn't as well done the writing was still excellent but the plot of this particular book didn't appeal to me - I'll definitely read another book by the author, but this book wasn't for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would recommend this book to read. I'd recommend the author, but not the book.

What to read next: One of the author's other books, I enjoyed Late Nights on the Air

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge, EBook Challenge


  1. I missed this book by her... Too bad it was a let down. I have only read the one book by her and it was a while ago.

    1. I'm hoping this book is was jut fluke, as I enjoyed one of her other books I've read. Can't like all if them I guess.

  2. Ah, narrative is everything! It sounds like a good concept though. Too bad it didn't live up to expectations. Great review!

    1. It is. The book did have a good concept, but just missed expectations. But I'm still interested in the author, so that's a good thing. Thnks for stopping by.