Book Review: Lesson Plans by Suzanne Greenberg

24 04 2014

Thank you Prospect Park Books for providing me with an advanced readers copy of this book.  Image

Title:  Lesson Plans

Author:  Suzanne Greenberg

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Available:  NOW

My Rating: 3 Stars

Summary:  Three California homeschool families have their lives intersect as they deal with the problems and challenges of everyday life.

Review: First of all, as a homeschool mom, I must say that I have NEVER encountered homeschoolers that match up to the characters in this book. I’m curious to know what the author based her character formation on.  She does set it in California, which has a reputation for “anything goes.” Yet, I still struggle to see how the homeschool component is really any basis for the actual plot, other than providing the “connection” for the families, and giving the author the liberty to portray one of the parents as a tree-hugging, all natural nut job of sorts. 

The story follows three families, each in different place in their life and homeschool journey.  David is the homeschool dad – the environmentalist – more of what you might call an unschooler.  He uses whatever the day might bring to provide lessons to his little ducklings.  He’s also an organizer and an encourager of homeschoolers in his area of Southern California.  Beth’s husband has just left and she seeks David’s help as she starts her daughter, Jenny off at home.  We also hear Jenny’s voice during the book as she struggles with her father’s departure, visitation arrangements and her own over-the-top food allergies.  Winter and Patterson have decided to homeschool their obnoxious twin sons.  They hook up with Beth to do classes together and try to find money-making ventures.

The book is really about the adults of this group and how they each are dealing with their own identity crises at this juncture of their lives.  Homeschool provides the coincidence of their interactions. The story itself has many twists and turns as each family tries to reach a balance in their world.  The author provides some very unusual scenarios to get the reader to the conclusion. 

The plot is compelling in some ways, although I failed to really identify with any of the characters strongly enough to care as to whether or not they got the ending they should have.  I think some of the nuances of this book would be ideal for a book discussion.  The author does include a guide in the back.

I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to my Christian homeschool group or associates.  It’s plot lines deal with more modern issues, and none of the main characters have any type or real religious connection to what they are doing.

 

Note:  I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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