Today, I’m starting to give Book Reviews. In that category, I will write my own opinions about any book I’ve read. Let’s start with: The Report Card by Andrew Clements.
The Report Card wasn’t the first Andrew Clements book I have read. The first one was Frindle, then The Landry News. Each story had similarities in their plots. The protagonist discovers something new, then makes a plan. Along the way, they meet people who either support or oppose their plan. Then, there’s a big debate that will decide whether the protagonist succeeds or fails. Usually, the protagonist succeeds. The, the rest is just filler written to fill in any gaping hole in the plot.
In the story, Nora Rose Rowley is a genius, but for the past years, she’s been keeping it a secret. She found out that the tests and grades are causing unhealthy competition amongst the kids, so she brings home a terrible report card to prove her point. Now, all the attention she successfully avoided is pointed at her as teachers try to find out the cause of her terrible grades. However, the librarian, Mrs. Byrne, finds out that her advanced computer searches are ironic to her grades. Then, the psychologist, Dr. Trindler, gives Nora an IQ test, which proves that Nora is a genius. Naturally, as all parents are, Mr. and Mrs. Rowley are excited and plans out her future to gifted schools.
Nora and Stephen make a plan. She acts obnoxious in lectures, but gives the tests a zero. Then, while she’s absent, Stephen arranges a rebellion and encourages all students but two to get a zero on their tests. This catches all the teachers’ and parents’ attention which causes a meeting. Mrs. Hackney, the principal, was all for giving Nora and Stephen suspensions, but Mrs. Bryne was opposed to it and supported Nora and Stephen. So did the other teachers. In the end, it worked out for Nora.
Sometimes, as what Nora described, geniuses want to live a normal life without all the attention at them. Maybe even movie stars too. What gave me a school flashback was this quote: “One of the first things I learned at school was how to read a teacher’s face. It’s a survival skill and all kids become experts at it.”. This reminded me of the times we were in front of our teachers, guessing how they feel just by looking at their faces.
They were, I guess, social cues that told us when to talk and when to keep silent.
The story pointed out that too much competition in tests and grades is unhealthy, and schools are taking measures to avoid that. Some schools don’t rank students at all. Some don’t have gifted programs for gifted students. Whatever measures they take, it’s for the good of others. Because the unhealthy competition can make regular people feel dumb, even though they are not, and it can also make the gifted ones more stuck-up.
The book also shows the bad side of bragging. Bragging about your test score, your promotion, your IG/FB/Twitter post that got tons of likes or whatever is fine,but when it gets to the point that everyone else’s achievements seem inferior compared to yours, it brings down everyone’s self-esteem.
There goes my first book review. So, how’s your report card?