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To Sir with Love by E. R. Braithwaite

To Sir with Love (1959)

by E. R. Braithwaite

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Wonderful book. A very easy read.
Like the blurb says "A book that the reader devours quickly, ponders slowly, and forgets not at all."

I still remember the details when we were studying this for our English lessons in school.
I don't think I could find anything bad about it.

Recommended for everyone!

( )
  maheswaranm | Mar 20, 2014 |
Born in British Guyana (now Guyana), E.R. Braithwaite was trained as an engineer, and after serving in the RAF during WWII, he expected he would have no trouble finding work in his chosen field in Great Britain. However, it became clear very quickly that no one was willing to hire him because of the colour of his skin. It was only due to a chance encounter that he decided to apply for a teaching job. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to a school with one of the worst reputations in the East End of London.

Despite the fact that Braithwaite is determined to see teaching as a job not a career, he decides to make the best of it. Unfortunately, his first weeks are a disaster. Not only the colour of his skin but his patrician upbringing, and his lack of training make it almost impossible for him to relate to his students. At first, the problems seem insurmountable. The children are belligerent and deliberately offensive, testing him at every opportunity and, at first, he retaliates with anger. But somewhere along the way, he reassesses his own attitude towards his students. He determines to change the rules; he will scrap the lesson plan and they can talk about anything as long as they treat each other with respect. To this end, he is to be called Sir, the girls will be addressed as Miss, and the boys by their last names. By treating these children as adults, he wins, not only their respect but their love.

Braithwaite’s autobiographical novel is a fascinating look at the effect a good teacher can have on their students. It also gives an interesting look at the hopes and dreams people from British colonial countries placed on Britain and how the reality was so far from those dreams:

“Yes, it is wonderful to be British – until one comes to Britain”

In the end, though, it is an inspiring tale of how minds and attitudes can be changed if people are willing to listen to and treat each other each other with respect. Written in 1959, I have read comments from other reviewers saying that this novel is outdated. Personally, I think its message has never been more fresh or more needed ( )
1 vote lostinalibrary | Mar 7, 2014 |
The nun's at my high school thought our class incorrigible. They hoped this book would save us, (well in combination with the movie) starring Sidney Poitier as Thackeray and Lulu as Barbara "Babs" Pegg and the film's title song "To Sir, with Love", sung by Lulu, - it did save quite a few of us. Some of us still read books! Only those who passed the English exam (included an essay on the book) were allowed the excursion to see the film. ( )
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
My favorite book! I first read it when I was 11 years old, having found the book in a pile of old books my grandmother was going to burn in the trash barrel. Lucky escape for both me and the book. I'm positive that this book is the reason I never learned to be prejudiced. The frankness in the conversations between Sir and his students about being black and HUMAN just like them, (especially when they "discover" his blood is red!)was something that stuck with me. I've just re-read it and although as an adult I can now say that maybe the writing is a bit dated and stiff, I still think everyone should read it. In my opinion, it has a mind expanding purpose. ( )
  Twikpet | Mar 29, 2013 |
I experienced an audio dramatisation with a dozen actors.
Moving story of a young man newly qualified as an engineer trying to make his way in the world.
Frustrated by the prejudices he meets at every turn, the narrator is forced to consider his options.
Searingly honest and heartfelt story of a man's struggle to live a decent life in the face of overwhelming obstacles. ( )
  NRTurner | Sep 4, 2012 |
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blurb: He shamed then, wrestled with them, enlightened them, and ultimately learned to love then. Mr. Braithwaite, the new teacher, had first to fight the class bully. The he taught defiant, hard bitten delinquents to call him ‘Sir’, and to address the girls who had grown up beside them in the gutter as ‘Miss’. He taught them to wash their faces and to read Shakespeare. When he took all forty six to museums and to the opera, riots were predicted. But instead of catastrophe, a miracle happened. A dedicated teacher had turned hate into love, teenage rebelliousness into self respect, contempt into consideration for others. A man’s own integrity - his concern and love for other - had won through.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0515105198, Mass Market Paperback)

The author's experiences as a teacher in the slums of London.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:28 -0400)

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The author's experiences as a teacher in the slums of London.

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