This is one of those times where I really wish Goodreads had half stars, because this was a classic case of a perfectly average book. Killing Mr. Griffin went on my TBR simply for the fact that when I Googled “banned books” it was one of the first I hadn’t already read (and that I might want to) that popped up. I have to admit, if I were a teacher and saw a kid reading a title like this, I might want to disappear all the copies from the school right quick too!
The story here is one that is probably familiar to most . . . .
“That Griffin’s the sort of guy you’d like to kill.”
“Well, why don’t we then?”
But not really. The plan is to get revenge on the literature teacher who has made a group of student lives’ hell all year. They’ll kidnap Brian Griffin . . .
Drive him out to the middle of nowhere, make him beg for his freedom while promising to stop being such a shit human being and then let him go. The only thing no one expected? Mr. Griffin’s heart condition. The rest of the story is just how far they are willing to go in order to make sure their little escapade remains under wraps.
There’s a chance I would have been more generous with my rating, if a truly horribly executed bait and switch hadn’t been attempted. My initial thought was “good lord, for something published in 1990 this seems REALLY dated.” Then I noticed the original publication date was 1978. It’s not the worst thing in the world for a book not to stand the test of time, and really the subject matter here was waaaaaay provocative for young adult at the time.
That being said, allow me a moment to offer a nickel’s worth of free advice to the powers that be: DO NOT TRY AND EDIT BITS OF A BOOK TO MAKE IT SEEM NEW. Not unless you’re going to re-write the whole shebang. You can’t make the occasional edit by throwing in references to things like DVDs and cell phones, without eliminating all of the left-in blasts from the past like girls getting phone calls on the family LANDLINE or riding around in cars with bench seats . . . . .
But the best had to be wishing they had an iPod while burying the body because . . .
“A little music makes work go faster. Besides, there’s always music at funerals. We could pick out some good songs for this one. ‘Down by the Old Mill Stream’ would be appropriate, or that Scottish thing, ‘Where, oh, where, has my highland laddie gone?”
Have no fear, though, as an attempt was quickly made to modernize this with reference to “that old group, the Grateful Dead” . . . . . Only to have the train fall completely off the rails again with “Brush Away the Blue-Tail Fly” . . . .
I had to Google that one. Burle friggin’ Ives sang it – in 1964. You know who Burle Ives is????
By the time I was finished reading I was thinking 1978 might have been a re-pub date as well because this sucker seemed like it was from the ‘50s. So, there’s the reason it was a fail for me and I'm rounding down because whoever decided to hack into this did it a huge disservice and should have just left it alone FFS. On the bright side, I didn’t realize Killing Mr. Griffin was written by the same author who wrote one of my fave guilty pleasures . . .
I’m going on a road trip this weekend with my oldest so he can play some college showcase ball. I’m hoping he follows the tradition of what he does when his father takes him on these excursions and immediately falls asleep for the entire car ride. If he does this will be my first audiobook experience . . . .
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