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"The Teacher" | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider

“The Teacher,” by Freida McFadden, is a read-it-in-one-sitting thriller that I totally raced through. While I thought a couple of times that I’d lay the book aside because it was just too over the top, I plowed ahead because I had to find out what happened to the cast of miserable, but addictive, characters.

At the onset, we meet two teachers as they prepare to return to Caseham High School in the fall. Eve, a math instructor, is married to Nate, a pretty-boy English teacher. Though Eve and Nate have been wanting to have a baby, they haven’t had any success. That’s easy for Eve to understand because Nate only has sex with her occasionally, a bitter pill for her to swallow.

To cope with the discontent in her marriage, Eve regularly feeds her shoe obsession—buying and hiding endless pairs of designer shoes, like Christian Louboutins, from Nate. Eve shops at a local shoe salon where she’s a regular customer of Jay’s, a store clerk who strokes her ego while he’s fitting her with shiny pumps and stiletto heels.

Returning to school is tough because the staff has been embroiled in a scandal. A male teacher was suspected of being too chummy with a female student and was fired. No one really knows if the teacher was guilty or not. Eve thinks he was innocent, that it was the student’s fault, but Nate disagrees. Things get dicey when Eve discovers that she has Addie, the questionable female student, in her math class.

Guilty or not, Addie is a mess. She’s the child of an abusive, alcoholic father who recently died in a tragic accident. Addie also is bullied and talked about at school, the bullying getting worse by the day, prompted by highschooler Kenzie, who seems to have it out for Addie, for reasons Addie doesn’t know about, but will before the book’s hair-raising conclusion.

As the plot gets messier, with this person sleeping with that person, it’s easy to feel for Addie, until we find out more about her—and it’s easy to have empathy for Eve—until we find out more about her. The same goes for Nate. There really isn’t one moral character in “The Teacher” but that makes it all the more fun as we become embroiled in the story, its tongue-in-cheek humor making the most horrible of incidents laughable at times.

You’ve got to hand it to McFadden. She’s a master at twists and keeping readers entertained. I’m glad I saw this one through to the finish.



 

 

 

 

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