Karma Redirected

How Did They Let You Become a Teacher?

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
221 Pages
Reviewed on 11/27/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Mike Morris began teaching middle school English when he turned 40. For 23 years he shared stories with his students as part of a writer workshop activity called “The Rest of the Story.” Students became very good at offering criticism and making suggestions. On occasions they would laugh. Sometimes they shed tears and laughed at the same time. At other times, they expressed outrage and questioned how someone like Mike Morris would be allowed to be a teacher. As stories accumulated, very kind students began suggesting that their English teacher turn his stories into a book. Mike Morris took their encouragement to heart and added other stories to the stories he had shared with them and published his first book.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Karma Redirected: How Did They Let You Become a Teacher? by Mike Morris is the fictional memoir of Mo Mickus, a middle school teacher who previously had no business being anything of the sort. A favorite grandchild to the woman that first raised him, Mo moved around a lot. Born in Alabama and following up with stints on the West and East Coasts, Morris jumps between past and present as Mo narrates his story in the first person, weaving through a youth full of mischief and honest-to-goodness mental health issues, until he finds God (no, not exactly 'that' one) and comes of age a bit later than most.

Karma Redirected is as honest as fiction can get and Mike Morris can write for laughter just as comfortably as he is able to tug on the heartstrings. I loved the Ugly Duckling story, where Mo recounts building his own efficient but unsightly stock car to race against other kids whose fathers had made theirs. I also liked later when Mo had a girlfriend named Cindy who thought he was really cool, but when Mo lost interest and was too afraid to break up with her, he did everything in his power to be as nerdy as possible. Lastly, while I had a laugh hearing about Mo being introduced to Buddhism by a man with the most Jewish name on the planet, there's no question that the resistance from his family, friends, and even himself were more difficult than maybe they are described. For all its humor, this is a really great story about hardship and the underdog coming out on top. This is a relevant story about 20th-century problems and how children became hardened to deal with them. Really, this is just an all-around great story.

Rabia Tanveer

Karma Redirected: How Did They Let You Become a Teacher? by Mike Morris is the humorous yet very deep story of a man who learned that life is best lived with a smile on your face. The book chronicles the life of Mo Mickus as he navigates the treacherous waters of life. From a very early age, he discovered that the way he saw the world was very different from how others saw it. He was so different that he had to change schools 10 times before he reached the 11th grade and even after that he had to struggle. But Mo was different. Instead of giving up, he realized what his strengths were. What others thought was his lack of understanding turned out to be his biggest strength. From accepting himself to embracing Buddhism, he realized that it is never too late to start a new chapter in your life if you are determined enough.

Mo is a brilliant character; he is the perfect modern hero who has his flaws and faults, yet his characteristics are so powerful that you cannot help but be enthralled by him. His circumstances weren’t really great; he was never appreciated, never given praise for anything. He was looked down upon, but this man kept his head high and moved on to his next adventure. The dry humor is very much present in the story; you will have a smile on your face, even if it is a little bitter at times. The author has done a great job of conveying the self-deprecating yet honest feelings of Mo. There is light and dark in all of us and it is up to us to decide which side we need to explore more. While Mo was forced to get in touch with his darker side, he chooses to touch the light in the best way he thought possible. This is amazing and such a cathartic story to read! Very symbolic and entertaining at the same time! Extremely enjoyable.

Romuald Dzemo

Karma Redirected: How Did They Let You Become a Teacher? by Mike Morris is a beautiful story that follows Mo Mickus, a man who was once shunned by almost all teachers when he was in 8th grade. He was the kind of rotten kid that teachers don’t want around them, the recalcitrant who was trouble everywhere he went. But this child grows up and is introduced to Buddhism, thanks to a friend, Yakov Mordicai ben Gabriel, who has known him since high school and who wanted to save him from his own waywardness. At forty, Mo Mickus is struck by the belief that life begins at forty and wants to do something meaningful with his own life. He becomes a teacher. In this book, he explores his journey and how his transformation changed him into someone who wants to inspire happiness and success in others.

This story is beautiful and inspiring, as is the change in the protagonist. Readers will want to follow Mo and his students as he shares episodes from his life. There is so much to enjoy in this book, so much humanity and realism, and so much creativity too. I enjoyed the creativity the most, especially the experience with creative writing where Mo develops the habit of making statements about his life and having his students determine which of them are true and then going on to do some writing on it. The reader notices how difficult it is to show young minds that he isn’t the person he used to be when he was their age: “What I could not explain to them was that the inner transformation that had taken place in my life was the result of a religious practice. To explain that would have included talking religion, and talking religion in school was not cool.” Karma Redirected is brilliantly written and the humor is intense. There are very interesting characters like Little Scampi and C.J. and I was keen to see how they evolved in the story. Mike Morris knows how to put life into a story and get readers enraptured.