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The Headmaster Ritual by Taylor Antrim

The Headmaster Ritual (edition 2007)

by Taylor Antrim

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933129,846 (2.68)4
Title:The Headmaster Ritual
Authors:Taylor Antrim
Info:Mariner Books (2007), Paperback, 309 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Tags:Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, read 2012

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The Headmaster Ritual by Taylor Antrim



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2/5 stars – Decent read but not something I would pick back up and reread
This book is about two males who are trying to figure out what it means to grow up and be a man. First is a seventeen year old named James Wolfe who is stuck in the middle of a divorce where his parents refuse to tell him the truth; he has to figure it out for himself. Instead he is pushed into a private school where his father has just become Headmaster. He is treated with the privilege of his own room which the other students do not take easily. Throughout a year of hazing, homework, and girls, James tries to figure out what has happened to his family and what kind of person he is. It take James standing up to his father, to the girl he is infatuated with, and to the student who James has been cheating for, for James to wake up and to stop being afraid of life.
Dryer Martin is also coming to terms with what it means to grow up. While dealing with his mother’s sickness and a recent bad breakup he gets a job teaching history at a private school. This is not his dream job but he needed something to fill his time, something other then messing up at his last job which he only had because of his ex. He finds himself caught up in a messy, confusing relationship with another teacher and being nothing other then a pawn for Headmaster Wolfe. It takes almost losing his job to realize what was actually important in his life and also to realize that he needed to take charge in his own life instead of letting others do it for them.
This book was a heavy read, which was unexpected. It was full of history but I thought that played nice into the story and was useful to understand the actions of Headmaster Wolfe. It was a very descriptive book but sometimes the descriptions took on a life of their own. They became distracting at times and took away in parts of the story. But in other places I could close my eyes and almost see the dormitories, the school and I felt as if I were a part of it. ( )
  simplekind | Dec 14, 2012 |
There was nothing really new here. The characters were rather shallow and I didn't find any of them to be especially likable, which, in this type of story, is absolutely essential. Dyer is a new teacher looking for a fresh start. James is the headmaster's son whose father fresh started his life for him. Read on and watch each of them grow and learn in highly predictable ways!Seriously though, this was after-school-special predictable. The sad thing is, both of the protagonists in this story are affected in the same ways at the same times. I don't know if this was intended or just lazy. Each guy has a hard time adjusting, then meets a girl, then has a falling out with the girl, then starts fitting in, all the while clashing with the headmaster...and at this point, it's quite likely you'll be fully able to fill in the blanks. The metaphors were forced and the plot was contrived, but if you're really into these "campus fiction" books or you start salivating at the thought of high school kids at the model UN, then by all means, read Mr. Antrim's book. You'll find it on the bargain shelves at your local bookstore. ( )
  anoceandrowning | Jan 21, 2010 |
I just couldn't get into this book. I had a really hard time relating to anything in the book. There was too much history about North Korea and things that I didn't quite understand. It was too masculine for me. I usually really like books about prep school and the like, but this just didn't do it for me. ( )
  goldiebear | Sep 29, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618756825, Paperback)

Taylor Antrim’s debut novel is a darkly comic, clear-eyed look at hidden worlds whose complexities and rules can be understood only from inside: the insular hothouse of boarding school, the thorny dynamics between father and son, and the self-delusion of blind ideological commitment.

Dyer Martin, a new history teacher at the prestigious Britton School, arrives in the fall ready to close the door on the failures and disappointments of his past: a disastrous first job, a broken relationship, and acute uncertainty about his future. James, a lonely senior, just wants to make it through his last year unscathed, avoiding both the brutal hazing of dorm life and the stern and unforgiving eye of his father, the school’s politically radical headmaster, Edward Wolfe.

Soon, however, both Dyer and James are inescapably drawn into Wolfe’s hidden agenda for Britton, as the headmaster orders Dyer to set up and run a Model UN Club for students. As the United States moves steadily toward a conflict with an increasingly hostile North Korea -- whose pursuit of nuclear technology is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon -- Wolfe’s political fervor begins to consume him, and he sets in motion a plan that will jeopardize his job, his school, and even the life of his own son.

With precisely controlled, deceptively subtle storytelling, The Headmaster Ritual is an insightful and captivating examination of the halting, complicated course young men must chart to shake off the influence of fathers -- and father figures -- while refining their convictions about the world and their place in it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:54 -0400)

Dyer Martin, a new history teacher at the prestigious Britton School, and James, a lonely senior who only wants to make it through his final year unscathed, fall victim to the radical political fervor of the school's stern headmaster, James's father Ed Wolfe.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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