Old School – Review

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Old School by Tobias Wolff

Age: YA – Adult

This novel is set during the 1960’s in an all boys prep school somewhere in the East Coast. Every quarter an author of high regard and esteem, ie Ayn Rand, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, makes an appearance at the school and has a Q.A. with one of the faculty members. At the end of the Q.A., the author meets with one of the pre-selected students from the school. The selection process is based on the writing talents of the boys in the school. Education and literacy in particular, are taken extremely seriously at the school as all the boys vie for the attention of their peers and the influential visiting author.

This book started with a lot of promise and a lot of charm. I found the narrator to be complex, confused and a devote fan of literary work, writing and reading. As the story progressed, my interest level waned. There were many avenues where Wolff could have really created a tense atmosphere, or given more depth to the characters. A lot of the book felt very 2-D to me, and the only real meat of character development came in the last chapter, which felt forced and out of place with the rest of the novel. All in all, it wasn’t a terrible read, but it wasn’t one of my favorites either.

Book 11 of 2011

Old School
Tobias Wolff
Vintage Books, 2003
 
ISBN 0375701494
195 pages

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Find this book at your local library

Old school : a novel

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