What an awesome story! Ordinarily I would pronounce this kid a twisted little monster, so it was a surprise to find myself cheering him on. It takes a damned good writer to sway a reader down a new thought path. Let's just hope this author doesn't go into politics with his powers of persuasion!
I noticed something different in this story. The author tells what the main character is actively doing, but never really comes out and says how he feels. Instead, the author makes the readers themselves feel the frustration and helplessness. That literary approach works very well to create a bond between the reader and the subect. It made me appreciate the perfect ending all the more.
Cawthorne has a good professional writing style. My only question has to do with plot. He's set his main character up as different from everyone else in town, a quiet, down trodden hero-in-waiting filled with inner strength. Simple rules of follow through say he deserved an ending that set him apart as well. He's just not the kind to get in line. My hero wants a new ending that lets him be all he can be.
I'm not a teacher, but as a parent I can appreciate Mr. Nicely's wisdom. I think the true value of different teaching methods is determined by the results. I had 4 children go through the school system. When they had teachers they admired, learning was fun for them. When they had teachers they feared, learning lost its joy. Thank goodness, the sour, disapproving teachers were in the minority. Every teacher leaves a mark on a child's soul.
Wow! I've never read a book quite like this before, but I must say I liked it alot. Most of the book was worth 5 stars. I was a little foggy at first because I'd never heard of Second Life and didn't know what it was, so nothing made sense for awhile. I chuckled through quite a bit of this before it got to the serious part. I never expected the ending. I'm not quite sure I understand everything about the last few pages, but I got enough that I thought it was pretty good.