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Monday, 20 February 2012

You Deserve Nothing

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books

You Deserve NothingYou Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You Deserve Nothing

By Alexander Maksik

Copyright 2012 John Murray Publishers

ISBN: 978-1848545724

308 pages

You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik is a controversial Novel written by a former teacher. The Novel is told by three narrators........William Silver, the Charismatic English teacher at an American High School in Paris catering to children of diplomats and rich people, Marie De Clery, a fifteen-year-old student, and Gilad, an impressionable student who moves to Paris from Dubai. All three characters share a classroom together. The students are enthralled and influenced by their English Teacher whose influential teaching methods really make an impact on these young minds.

The Story is set in 2002 in Paris several months before the War in Iraq. Will Silver is a man who lost parents and wife, who moves to Paris to teach English and literature at an American High School in Paris, France.

Quoting from Camus and Sartre, Will teaches the class about Sartre's existentialism...or the idea that man is responsible for his own actions through his choices and free Will. Will's teaching method impresses Gilad who becomes enthralled by his English teacher, but this obsession crumbles when he discovers that Mr Silver is having an illicit affair with Marie, a fifteen-year-old student in his class.

Will Silver's persona crumbles further when Marie starts bragging about her affair in school and has an abortion. The Head Master or Principal gets word of it and brings Mr Silver up on charges. Mr Silver defends his actions in front of the school board. He's fired from the school . "Do you understand that what you've done is wrong?" asked the Principal, but Mr Silver remains silent and walks out of the room, past the hallway and out onto the Parisian streets without remorse.

The issues in the Novel are not a new ones. There have been many known cases of teacher/student affairs in the News and on television. This poses the question: "Should teachers violate their teachers' code of ethics and morality to satisfy their own carnal whims at the expense of a minor?" The Novel is based on a true story which is a bit shocking to say the least.

An educator has the moral responsibility to conduct himself/herself on a professional manner with regards to his/her students and the role of an educator should not be taken lightly. When educating young minds a teacher should show professionalism at all times and respect, preserve and uphold the innocence of youth. An educator must remember that they hold impressionable young minds in the palm of his/her hands...........and it is his/her duty to mould these young minds with dignity, respect and professionalism into respectable members of society.

I picked this book up because I love English literature and because it was set in of the cities I love. Like some of the students in the book, English was my best subject in High School. I had a lovely English teacher, Mrs Ross, whom I truly admired. In my forties, I still look up to Mrs Ross as a great model educator and even as a mentor. Mrs Ross taught the class in a fun way........but she would NEVER cross the line between violating her teacher’s code of ethics and morality like Mr Silver in You Deserve Nothing did.

The narration reads like a JD Salinger book or D.H. Lawrence. Several reviewers have been bold to say that this book should be classed as a memoir instead of fiction because it is based on a true story. In my opinion the book can fit into both categories. I felt empathy for the character of Marie as she was the one who got taken advantage of by her unethical teacher. I also felt for Gilad.........a young teenage boy whose ideals and perception of someone whom he looked up to were chattered when he discovered that the man he called his Mentor was involved with an under aged student.

I found the book a bit shocking and disjointed in places. However, it does serve the purpose of alerting the audience to the problem facing teachers who violates their code of ethics falling in love with their students.

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