Jack Allen When the Whistle Blows

ISBN 13: 9781873982792

When the Whistle Blows

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How do you educate the children who do not want to come to school - and whom schools don't want? Caleb Duck, a burnt-out inner-city teacher of triumphs in teaching the unteachable by adopting their values. He marks off the days by sticking boogers to the classroom radiator. At war against the curriculum and his officious Headmaster, Duck watches as the school descends into an anarchy of sex, drugs and cannibalism.

Set in Bristol, England, this bitter, anarchic black comedy could happen in any inner city school in the U.S. The book received great reviews in all the teaching journals and inner city magazines in the UK.

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About the Author:

Jack Allen is a Bristol-based playwright who combines writing with caring for his two-year old daughter. His work includes the youth drama series Jangles for ITV, which was nominated for the Prix Jeunesse.

From Publishers Weekly:

Set in inner-city Bristol, this black comedy is an anarchic, scathing indictment of the educational establishment and national curriculum in England. Imagine a humorous Clockwork Orange set in the classroom, and you'll have a good idea of the havoc wreaked in this comic and disturbing novel. Caleb Duck is head of the Integrated Studies Department, which is full of students who are "thieves, arsonists, prostitutes and rapists." Caleb, the bizarre antihero, conducts a surreal uprising with his Camp Escape Committee, fueled on drugs supplied by his 15-year-old second-in-command, Errol, "a huge, princely looking Afro-Caribbean lad" with underworld ties. Caleb's devious and entirely loony plan is to put his students' criminal talent to good use, and he forges a regime that is part Lord of the Flies, part Caligula's Rome, centered around the excavation of a tunnel under the school's sports field. Sprinkled throughout the book are bureaucratic memos, forms, questionnaires and paperwork, functioning as the deadpan backdrop for the novel's violent scenes and grotesque dialogue. American readers may have some trouble comprehending Allen's Briticisms (not to mention following the hallucinogenic narrative), and the language and scenes (pornography, orgies, overdoses and bloody beatings) are harrowing and extreme, but the message about the quality and state of education is real and legitimate.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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