Saturday, December 08, 2007

Teach Me

Reading Boy Toy reminded me of another book on the subject of inappropriate teacher-student relationships. For a fiction book from the girl's point of view, R.A. Nelson's Teach Me was a very good read.

In Teach Me an affair with her teacher leaves senior high school student, Carolina, dangerously obsessed with punishing or reclaiming her ill-advised love--especially after he marries another (older) woman. Donning crazy disguises and stalking her English teacher at his apartment are only the beginning of Carolina’s painful odyssey as a scorned and hurting lover.

Unlike in Boy Toy, the protagonist of Teach Me never entirely realizes she has been abused. This may bother some readers, who would like to see the relationship soundly vilified. To me, it seemed more realistic that Carolina would keep her secret. Nelson created an absolutely believable picture of a young woman whose psychological state is that of protecting her abuser--specifically because she does not realize the wrongness of what he has done. In this way, Carolina from Teach Me and Josh from Boy Toy are very similar. Only Josh's secret is exposed to the world while Carolina's simmers and festers, unknown to any but a few. Both characters are also similar in that they are intellectually years beyond their fellow students, and both are manipulated by older authority figures who should know better. Both books are highly recommended for an older teen audience.

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