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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Nostalgia From a City Set Upon a Hill is a non-fiction memoir written by Garfield Whyte. The author knew that he had to do well enough in the Common Entrance Examinations to be accepted into Munro College, a prestigious boarding high school. His mother had made it clear for some time that she would not pay for him to attend any other high school. Munro was the only one she considered, and she had good cause for her conviction. Many Munro graduates, who came from a variety of backgrounds and economic situations, became diplomats, academics, high-ranking government officials, Fulbright Scholars and professionals, and Munro is highly regarded for its academic excellence. Located in a remote part of Jamaica on a peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the college comprised some 150 acres of pristine land overlooking the Caribbean and commanding vast panoramas. Many of the buildings are of historic importance. It was an awesome place for the author to study and live in, and the Munro College experience continues to influence his life to this day.
Garfield Whyte's non-fiction memoir brings to life the author's seven years spent in an elite boarding school. If you've even wondered, as I have, what boarding school might have been like, this memoir is as close to living that experience as you are likely to get. Whyte includes marvelous pictures of Munro College's buildings, panoramas and the infamous Barbecue, a stretch of cracked concrete that was the focal point of student life. I loved hearing his stories about his interactions with other students and the pranks they played, and his humorous looks at some of the teachers he had during his time there are brilliant. I marveled at the thought that the college was so isolated in the rural countryside and that the students there had none of the social outlets that most take for granted today. In a way, I envied the closeness and camaraderie that could not help but become engrained in him and his fellow students as they spent their free time having bull sessions and playing padda. Nostalgia From a City Set Upon a Hill is well-written, and the reader can't help but feel a connection with this author as he shares the stories of his youthful experiences at a most remarkable academic institution. It's highly recommended.