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School Board by Mike Freedman
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School Board

by Mike Freedman

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of this book from Librarything in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very tough book for me to rate, because while it was well-written and had an interesting story, there were still a few faults that disengaged me and for the most part I just could not get into it.

First, Tucker Davis is one of the most annoying and obnoxious characters I've ever encountered. He's more than just flawed; I can't think of any redeeming qualities about him. He's hypocritical, ignorant, ironically self-centered, and completely clueless. For someone wanting to help people, he sure doesn't treat his friends and family very well by manipulating them, using them, and not even considering their advice. This book was difficult to read, because I just could not stand the main character.

Secondly, I'm not really into politics and that was the only thing driving the story. That's mostly my fault for picking a book about politics. However, as a book advertised as "a roaring comic allegory", I was expecting to laugh a little, or even crack a smile. But the only this this book did for me was confirm my dislike of politics. Despite the interesting concept, the text got very boring very quickly. The whole thing seemed to be really stretched out. The story felt slow the first three quarters of the book. While the ending was predictable, I could not help but be satisfied solely because the last page marked the end of my time with Tuck Davis. ( )
  CareBear36 | Mar 30, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a signed, hard copy of Mike Freedman's novel, School Board via LibraryThing Early Viewers program and appreciated the opportunity. I will start by saying that I was impressed before I even started into the story. With it's soft blue dust jacket and gem of an illustration on the inside front cover, I was eager to delve in.

The author shares the story of Tucker "Catfish" Davis, an 18 year old champion for the "little folks", whose passion for politics takes him on a race for a seat on the local School Board. Having spent his childhood admiring the unlikely of political heroes, Tucker takes on the rich and vengeful conglomerates who dare to steal away hard-earned money from everyday Houstonians. Tucker may not be a Top-A student and his outlook on life is nothing short of "unique", but he knows how to rally the people for the "cause". He brings together an eclectic group of supporters in an honest attempt to unseat the status quo who have always used their "status" as their political weapon.

The story is chalked full of humor and wit. It touches on themes of political corruption, corporate greed and civil rights. Add in the energy of today's youth, vulnerable seniors, Vietnam Vets and new immigrants and you've got yourself a drama that is sure to entertain.

I recommend to any reader who is likely to cheer for the little guy! 4/5 stars and hoping for more of Mike Freedman's writings in the future! ( )
  WLR11 | Dec 2, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Larger-than-life protagonist and high school senior, Tucker Davis, decides to challenge a school board member for his seat on the Houston school board. He is motivated by the legacy of Huey Long, his hero, and another Louisiana Governor Beaudreaux. The book touches on several issues -- gay rights, the Viet Nam War, among others and portrays the ups and downs of the last semester of high school. The action, while not always believable, is conveyed with lots of charm. The pace is about right for a high school level reader. ( )
  txmysterylover | Nov 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm usually a quick reader, but it took me several weeks to finish this book - I kept putting it down because I found the writing style (and characters) grating. Although this may sound like a trivial complaint until you're actually reading the book, Catfish uses the phrase "little folks" an absurdly frequent amount, which drove me crazy. In general, I found that most complex issues - from the experience of war veterans to the discussion surrounding gay rights - were oversimplified and unoriginal. I was also sometimes uncomfortable with the way that gay people were discussed/presented, even given that the book is set in 1999. Many of the characters/dialogue were cliched as well. ( )
  its-lauren3 | Nov 5, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It took me a while to get into this book - indeed, I had a few false starts (which is not like me). I'm not a big fan of politics and found the language difficult to read at the beginning. Once I got into the rhythm of the story, however, I found that Tucker Catfish Davis's voice was made this novel so unique and energetic.

Once I understood Tucker's idealism, his swashbuckling personality, his inherent belief that the little people deserve a voice and that the underdog is worth fighting for, I was convinced. It may not be realistic and even slightly ridiculous, it was definitely refreshing to see this unwavering Don Quixote defending modest folks against big capitalist interests and the gay community against engrained prejudice. Kirby, Walker Moore and Hugh Fisher all provide great character foils and a bit of adult realism in his fight.
I would have liked to see his entourage better fleshed out: Duna, Carlos and especially Elliott are pale characters in comparison, and I would have liked to see what kind of character is takes to be friends with such an outlandish boy. High school is not a gentle environment and it takes fortitude to be associated with an outcast.
Overall, it's Tucker's rhetoric that won me over. Not an easy read, but definitely an engaging one. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Oct 26, 2014 |
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Epigraph
“You may be right and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say, but I’d feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for sheriff once.”
—Sam Rayburn to Lyndon B. Johnson in response to President Kennedy’s Cabinet selection in David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest
If you’re ever in Houston, you better walk right;
You better not gamble, you better not fight,
Or the sheriff will grab you, and the boys will bring you down.
The next thing you know, you’re penitentiary bound

—"The Midnight Special"
Dedication
For my brothers Jeff and Dan
and
To the generation of post-9/11 dreamer brothers who were crazy enough to sally forth overseas
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He was the Last Populist.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0985041692, Paperback)

"School Board is a total joy to read, as full of sass and subversive brass as its 18-year-old hero, the political neophyte and Houston school board candidate Tucker 'Catfish' Davis ... I hope School Board is the first of many more to come from this gifted young writer."-Ben Fountain, author of National Book Critics Circle Award winner Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

“Into the riotous cavalcade of great American literary characters tumbles a new class clown, Tucker 'Catfish' Davis, high school senior and aspiring politician. One part Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces, one part Hazel Motes from Wise Blood, and several parts Willie Stark from All the King's Men, Catfish Davis is a singular presence on the page. Mike Freedman hasn't just written the funniest book about a school board election, he's written the kind of David-and-Goliath story that gets all of us 'little people' cheering and laughing in equal measure.”-David Abrams, author of Fobbit

Set in Houston, Texas, in the last year of the twentieth century, School Board is a roaring comic allegory for the coming post-9/11 world. At the center of the tale is quixotic high school senior class president Tucker "Catfish" Davis, who has never encountered a fight he didn't take on. Events soon have Tucker challenging school board incumbent Walker Moore, a senior executive at an Enron-like company. Tucker, inspired by a long line of Louisiana populist heroes, uses Huey Long–style tactics to protect the "little folks" of Houston.

In the wild days that follow, Tucker gains traction in his long-shot bid for school board by guerilla campaigning against a tax reinvestment zoning bill that his opponent, local leaders, and Walker's energy company all support. With the help of his classmates, an indicted Louisiana governor resembling Edwin Edwards, and an ex-Green Beret oilman trained in waging unconventional warfare, Tucker makes it the school board race of the century.

Written by a veteran of the recent war, School Board is an entertaining debut novel that heralds the arrival of a sharp satirical voice attuned to the absurdities of contemporary America. It is also the story of Houston, revealing the diversity, madness, and glory found

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:05 -0400)

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Chin Music Press

An edition of this book was published by Chin Music Press.

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