Nat(han Irving) Hentoff

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Peter Fanning

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[Despite] a forthright title This School is Driving Me Crazy proves something of a disappointment. Deep in the heart of the Blackboard Jungle, where protection rackets flourish and honour rides high, Nat Hentoff's anti-hero plays an unpleasant double-act as petulant pupil and headmaster's son. The text makes heavy weather of a fine central theme. Furious bursts of capital letters and italics highlight parental psychology; interest lapses after the villains' cover is blown and the final pages totter into comic strip tedium.

Mr Hentoff makes a believable creation of Sam, the Nogood Boyo, who receives paternal guidance in the form of official memoranda. But otherwise both setting and characters are of a predictable kind. They range from the jackbooted child-hating teacher to cringing bullies and their teeny-tiny victims.

Peter Fanning, "Tooth and Claw," in The Times Educational Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1978; reproduced from The Times Educational Supplement by permission), No. 3267, January 20, 1978, p. 23.∗

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