“A teacher who loves learning earns the right and the ability to help others learn” – Ruth Beechick
There are a lot of issues and problems in this world of ours that manage to grab our attention, they ignite the extremist and arm-chair activists in us to act and do something about it. But more often than not, the ‘issue’ takes place somewhere far away from us, not too far that we can afford to ignore it and not talk about it but far enough to stop ourselves from becoming a part of the solution. If we were really honest with ourselves and paid more attention to our surroundings, then we would realize that issues and problems are everywhere, right in our own backyard and it is these we should tackle first instead of indulging in some namesake pseudo worrying.
G J Griffiths’ new novel ‘So What’s Next!’ is the sequel to his earlier work So What! Stories or Whatever!,which came out last year. Using the same setting of Birch Green High School, this time he introduces a new protagonist in the form of Molly Pearson, who was incidentally mentored by Robert Jeffrey, the hero of the first book. Molly is a young biology teacher who is both assertive and ambitious when it comes to her two loves, teaching children and caring for the nature around her. And she soon realizes that she has to jump through a lot of hoops and face a lot of obstacles before she can get her kids back in line and also ensure a lasting awareness on the need to take care of nature.
Even though the author returns to the old school in which his first story was set, he introduces a fresh cast of protagonist and secondary characters, and therefore ‘So What’s Next!’ works well as a standalone new novel too. Miss Molly Pearson is an idealistic teacher who’s in it for the love of teaching and for making a significant difference in caring for nature, which is her second love. As a teacher she isn’t content with influencing and improving the life of just a single individual, she wants to improve the school and its surrounding to such an extent that the whole community benefits from the changes. There are a lot more sub plots and serious ones at that too in this outing unlike the first book, issues about bullying and the delinquent nature of certain students are discussed once again, the problem with caring for something the majority isn’t interested in and a romantic angle for the main protagonist are some of the other sub plots worked into the main story. The story line of this book follows the same pattern of the previous book in it being a collection of vignettes and anecdotes rather than a full blown linear story told in a traditional novel format. But this is something that works really well with the theme of the book, because of the level of believability and closeness to reality that the author has been able to portray.
Even though the author has not promised a sequel at the end of this book, one sure hopes he brings out a new book in this series. Because whenever you are telling stories about a school and the interactions between the teachers and students in them, there can never be an end to it, just as a school is kept alive by the hustle and bustle of life that each new class brings every year, this series too has the potential to keep going with newer stories about yet another teacher and his or her class of students.
Print Length: 309 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1497423996
Publisher: Create Space/G J Griffiths; 1 edition (May 3, 2014)