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Sunday, July 15, 2018

REVIEW: The Drama Teacher by Koren Zailckas @crownpublishing

The Drama Teacher
by Koren Zailckas

Thank you to Crown Publishing for this gifted copy.
A character study that will have you questioning if you're being scammed and by whom around you.

Publisher:  Crown Publishing
Publish Date:  August 7, 2018
400 Pages
Genre:  Psychological Suspense

Gracie Mueller is a proud mother of two and devoted wife, living with her husband Randy in upstate New York, her life complicated by the usual stressors and tedium—young children, marriage, money—and she’s settled down comfortably enough. But Gracie, underneath all that’s marked her life as average, has a lot to hide about where she’s from, who she is, and who she’s been. And when Randy’s failing career as a real estate agent makes finances tight, their home goes into foreclosure, and Gracie feels she has no choice but to return to the creatively illegal and high-stakes lifestyle of her past in order to keep all that she’s worked so hard to have.
Gracie learned from her manipulatively charming father how to steal identities in order to survive, and she eases back into her routine of lying and cheating with a wicked skillset and gritty resolve. Things begin to slip out of her control, though, when her web of deceit lands her a job as a private school drama teacher--a role that demands emotional honesty--and soon more questions about the truth of her past are raised, including all the ones she never meant to, or even knew to, ask. 

My Review:

Wow.  I'm actually really torn on what to think about this novel.  This is a character study of a woman who endured a difficult childhood with a crazy father.  This shaped her adulthood and set her on a path that she does not know how to get out of. Told strictly through Gracie, traveling from her childhood to her present day, the author takes you right into Gracie's thoughts, her fears, her intelligence and her manipulative ways.  Somehow, I never get mad at her though.  I empathize and see how what she is doing is all she has ever really known.  

I actually started thinking about how much she figured out as a child.  How susceptible you are a child to soak in what is around you and how parents don't realize that the child knows way more than they ever think they do... and vice versa.  Clearly Gracie is an extremely intelligent person and watching her transverse between the various situations she got herself into really did fascinate me.  I kept waiting for the shoe to drop and well.... you're just going to have to read this to figure out what happens.

I will say that I did get a little bored in certain areas.  I felt at times that it stretched on just a little too long and I almost wished at certain moments that it was a more linear read.  However, I will say that once I got to the last 10%, I understood why it was written the way that it was written.  The reveals that came towards the end just kind of gave me that "oh, yeah, ok" kind of feeling.  I wasn't surprised by them but I also don't think you really needed that AHA moment with this type of read either. 
This is a great read for those who love a good character study and really want to dive deep into the mind of a woman who is just trying to do right by herself and her kids when she didn't get a very good hand to start with.  


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