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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Carolyn, the heroine in "Love and Other Subjects", is in over her head at the inner-city school where she teaches, and the principal, Mr. Klein, takes every opportunity to let her know he is aware of her deficiencies. He is mean and petty, and has instructed his secretary to listen in on her lessons via the public address system. Carolyn's private life also has its ups and downs -- her live-in boyfriend Alex is not really the love of her life, and she is afraid of sending him on his way. Her other roommates, Nina and Laura, however, are her bulwarks in life. They are also freshman teachers at the same school, albeit in somewhat less demanding circumstances. One teaches physical education, and the other has first-graders instead of Carolyn's mixed bag of fifth and sixth-graders. After a particularly grueling day at school, Carolyn stops into a seedy bar and meets what could be the man of her dreams.
Kathleen Shoop's style is witty and bright. Carolyn is the teacher I would have loved in grammar school. She is funny and disorganized, but she is also a dedicated teacher who goes the extra mile to get her students motivated and into learning. Her roommates are the perfect foil for her, and Jeep, her maybe dreamboat, is everything a girl could wish for with one exception -- his baggage is the rest of his family, the sisters who are all called Mary and who will do their best to make Carolyn run far and fast. There are times when I just sat there and laughed out loud. This is a very funny book and I highly recommend it.