Hi bookies (you literary nuts)!
A book review is long overdue, so I’m happy to present this one to you. It’s a bit short, as is this book. Without further ado, here is the book’s details followed by the blurb:
Title: Problem Child: The View From the Principal’s Office
Author: Robb Lightfoot
Genre: Autobiography. Short Stories.
#of pages: 176.
I am asked if these stories are true, and I tell my friends that they are not a memoir but rather a sorta-was. Many of these stories happened more-or-less as written, but no doubt others would offer a different account. Some are outright whoppers that I told to amuse or redirect my parents’ attention. This was often the best way to avoid other stories of shenanigans that I didn’t want to share. Others here are a blend of several incidents, or a “take off” on something that happened but has, as my family will tell you, grown to mythic proportions in the retelling. In almost every case, I was the architect of my own misfortune, and I received pretty fair treatment at the hands of my parents, school authorities, and friends. In most cases I’ve changed the names of my classmates to protect their secrets. In one or two cases I’ve retained the actual names. I did this when I thought the stories saluted their intelligence or loyalty. So, if you are reading this, were in my class, and come off well... then I was writing about you. But if you think the kids described here were stinkers, then, clearly, I’m talking about somebody else. For everyone else, if you want to know which stories are “real,” then email me. All of them attempt to capture the spirit of what it’s like to be that kid who just can’t keep still or pipe down. The happy ending to all these tales is that most of us active kids grow up and find our place in the world. We just need some kindness, a little help, and a bit of patience. OK. So we need a lot of patience. But we’re worth it … aren’t we?
This was a very interesting book. I don’t think it can really be described as anything amazing, but I really enjoyed it as a comfortably slow-paced book, the kind you can just cuddle up and relax with.
It is self-described as a sort of memoir. I think that’s an apt description since each chapter in this book is an individual story, but they are all experiences of the same person. I think this book is basically like when all your relatives get together once a year and say: “Remember that one time when…” That’s basically what the author does here. He doesn’t say, “This is me now.” It’s more like a series of funny and/or surprising stories of what he did or used to be like as a kid. He explains it from retrospect, but retaining the thought process he had as a child. That way, you live the story and yet still understand why he did what he did.
If the author wanted to create a book of stories to pass down to his kids, he succeeded. I can just imagine him with a grandkid on his knee. That grandkid saying “Tell me a story grandpa, of when you were my age”. I can imagine the author saying, “Here, just read this book”. If you’ve got interesting stories, I think this would work as a good outline.
I’m usually not one for autobiographies, but this book seemed interesting enough. The short stories are interesting, funny, and refreshing. I would have liked to learn more about his parents, particularly his mother, but then this book might have been more serious, factual, and not just a autobiography.
So, in short, this book was worth the read. I think most readers will get some laughs out of it and it is short enough to finish in a single evening, if you so desire. I give it a 4/5. Not amazing or awesome, but definitely enjoyable and the type of thing you’d like to read on a simple evening dedicated to kicking back and relaxing.