Book Review : The Teacher’s Funeral, A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck
August is lookin pretty good since ole Miss Myrt, the school teacher, died. Nobody really knows why she died, but the preacher says it’s because of the wicked children who didn’t give respect to a teacher like they did in the old days.
Russell Culver ain’t got no use for school anyhow, he just wants to get on to Dakota to start livin his dreams and earn $17 a day. Hominy Ridge School isn’t done with these Hoosier kids by a long shot since the school board has already found a new teacher. The problem is this teacher gives Russell even more grievances than Miss Myrt. She seems to have chalk in her veins and won’t even let a fire, a snake or a bossy neighbor drive her out of her school.
Adult Point of View
I found The Teacher’s Funeral to be quite delightful hearkening back to simpler days. The writing reminds me of Little Britches by Ralph Moody.
Can you imagine the commotion if a boy showed up to class with his pocket knife, in overalls and without shoes today? That was the standard then, and there is something to be said for the self-reliance that children learned.
This is a short novel that has to be experienced to do it justice. Adults will enjoy it and maybe some kids.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes;
It occurred to me even that early in life that there’s not much romance in a woman’s soul. The very names of the big steam threshers turned my heart over: the Geiser Peerless, the Minnesota Little Giant, the Avery Yellow Fellow, the Pitts Challenger, the Frick Eclipse. (p. 10)
That thing seemed to be moving and on the prowl even when it was tipped into the ditch. It was like a knife you could cut through time, a hole you could punch in the universe. It was like fast in a shape. (p. 55 referring to the Bullet No. 2 racing car that could go 68 miles per hour.)
And my last quote for now,
In a voice small and forlorn Lloyd said, “I miss Miss Myrt. She only threatened you in daylight.” (p. 92)
4 out of 5 stars
– the Mother