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America's Report Card: A Novel by John…
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America's Report Card: A Novel

by John McNally

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A brutal satire--sometimes effective, sometimes juvenile (sometimes both at the same time) of post-9/11 Republican-style big government. There are two intersecting stories. In one, a recently minted U of Iowa film student MA takes a job at the "American Testing Center," with brutal satire about ACT. The other story focuses on a bright but troubled 18-year-old girl in suburban Chicago who fears that her favorite high school teacher's suicide was really a government execution. She draws political cartoons, including one about Bush's "No Child's Behind Left Untouched" program, and fears that she, too, is being watched by the government. Eventually the two stories intersect and, near the end, the girl takes over the guy's apartment in Iowa City (he does not return), where she quickly feels at home. There are fascinating descriptions of Iowa City, one of which offers a nod to Paul Ingram at Prairie Lights Bookstore. It's good to see him in a novel after all he does to promote them! ( )
  mbergman | Jan 16, 2007 |
This looked like it would be a good satire on education and the Bush administration, and I suppose it tried, but it got a little too obvious and preachy by the end of the book. There were some very funny moments in the novel, but it seemed like it would have done better as a movie. **Amendment: I just sat through a CPS meeting about the upcoming tests, and it made me reconsider a lot of the conspiracy theory in this book! ( )
  JoyE | Sep 14, 2006 |
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Having written a scathing essay about her disgust with the government's standardized testing process, Jainey skips her final weeks of high school, during which part-time test scorer Charlie reads Janey's essay and recognizes her as a person needing help.… (more)

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