Title: The Looney Experiment
Author: Luke Reynolds
Length: 208 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Atticus Hobart couldn't feel lower. He s in love with a girl who doesn't know he exists, he is the class bully's personal punching bag, and to top it all off, his dad has just left the family.
Into this drama steps Mr. Looney, a 77-year-old substitute English teacher with uncanny insight and a most unconventional approach to teaching.
But Atticus soon discovers there's more to Mr. Looney's methods than he'd first thought. And as Atticus begins to unlock the truths within his own name, he finds that his hyper-imagination can help him forge his own voice, and maybe just maybe discover that the power to face his problems was inside him all along. -Goodreads
Atticus Hobart is 'that kid'. The bullied, the ignored, the invisible boy, who just can't seem to be invisible enough to those who would seek to make his life more of a hell than it is.
With drama on the home-front reaching DEFCON levels after his father leaves the family, and the ever present specter of Danny, the class bully, always looming somewhere in his personal horizon; Atticus just can't seem to find any room in his life for himself. Or should I say, his self worth.
That is until the day that a wacky old teacher, by the name of Mr. Looney enters his life. Bringing laughter, lessons, and To Kill A Mockingbird along for the ride.
It only takes one person, just one, within the course of a life...to change that life.
For Atticus, that person just happens to come in the form of his aged English teacher.
Well, him and Atticus Finch.
As a reader, I have to say that I am very impressed that this book's author chose to incorporate literature into his book in such a direct way. Atticus Hobart is effected by his namesake in the book, in such a way that he comes to realize positive truths about himself in the process.
Though this book is short in length, it is packed with emotionally evocative content. As a reader, you find yourself wanting to throttle someone one moment, and hug someone else the next. This works well when it comes to keeping middle school aged readers engaged. There are a few swear words in this read, and it can be a trigger for those with issues around bullying. This is however a very honest and uplifting book, that is a heartfelt joy to experience.
Here's the thing: I would eat garlic bread as a side dish to any main course every single meal of the day. And my favorite after-dinner dessert is a bowl of cereal--preferably a healthier cereal on the bottom (Shredded Wheat Spoon Size, Grape Nuts, Wheat Chex) and an overwhelmed-by-sugar option on the top (whatever is cheapest that week).
That says a lot, but here's even more:
Why I Love Writing: "I learn by going where I have to go." --Theodore Roethke; "In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore for a long time." --Andre Gide; "One man loved the pilgrim soul in you / And loved the sorrows of your changing face." --W.B. Yeats; "Growing up, poetry had been the sanctuary, that space in words where longing could be spoken." --bell hooks; "I saw the angel in the marble and carved him out until I set him free." --Michaelangelo
On My Wife, Jennifer Reynolds: Someone who makes future dreams a part of the present; a poem who isn't afraid to roll up her sleeves and do the hard (and sometimes fun) work; laughter like rain, Tears like sunshine; a mom with incredible love and a PhD candidate with incredible brain-prowess-ness; a wife who inspires and invigorates
On Our Son, Tyler: A five-year who loves Legos, loves mountain hiking, loves imagination, and loves stories, stories, stories
On Our Son, Benjamin: a four-month old who loves giggles, his big brother, sunlight, and the relief that comes only after a massive, productive fart.
Where I Live: 40 Minutes outside of Boston, MA.(Previous locales include: growing up in Windsor, CT, college in Wenham, Massachusetts, early married life in New Britain, Connecticut, Early-ish married life in Flagstaff, Arizona, Less Early-ish married life + Parenting in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Early-Mid-ish married life + Early-ish Parenting in York, England)
Favorite Activities: Singing Songs That Do Not Exist and Yet Often Rhyme and Yet Do Not Have Any Musically Redeeming Qualities Except the Joy They Bring Me as I Make Them Up; Dancing; Reading; Writing; Great & Long Conversations; Movies; Fountain Pens; Basketball; Puddle-Jumping; Traveling; Encouraging.