Must’ve Done Something Good
Thirteen Hundred Media, 2008
FORMAT: Realistic Fiction
AGES: Young Adults, Adults
In a bit of hysteria brought on by some extreme airplane turbulence, Sylvie O’Rourke vows that she will do “Something Good” with her life if she lives. Her two sisters (who were on the airplane when the vow was made) will not let Sylvie forget her vow. So, she ends up applying for a teaching position at St. Matthew’s High School (a Catholic private school that doesn’t require a teaching certificate). Of course things are harder than she thought they would be. Although for Sylvie it seems like a walk in the park compared to what some of the other teachers are going through. For a person who was an English major and who then worked for a newspaper…she makes a surprisingly good teacher. Always knowing just the right way to get her students to participate and to not run her classroom. Which is a bit surprising seeing how she claims she doesn’t know what she is doing for any of it. She doesn’t know how to teach, yet turns out to be one of the better teachers. She doesn’t know how to direct a play, yet she does an amazing job for someone who has only watched DVDs an gone to the theater for her reference as to how to direct. The only part she doesn’t get is why one person is such a jerk and another is so good even though he has been hurt by the said jerk. (And even though some of her good friends are books like Pride and Prejudice, she still doesn’t figure out that sometimes people aren’t always what they seem. Wickham/Darcy anyone?)
This is a fun story. In my world two stars is “this book is okay” and three stars is “I liked this book.” This one is in-between. I liked the story (mostly). I liked Sylvie as a character. I enjoyed seeing how her relationship with the “bad guy” and the “good guy” swapped around. But I was frustrated that even I could see grammatical errors. (And I wouldn’t be able to grammatically save my life without help.) And I did wonder at all the background bits with her sisters. Mostly they were just times to have Sylvie vent her frustrations and to throw in another musical, book, song, or DVD reference.
This all being said, it was a good book to help me remember that all of us should try to do “something good” with our lives. I liked the reflection that happened after reading the book that made me wonder if I had done “something good” or what I should set as a goal to do in the future. The book made me think and dream of someday helping others to find their “Happily Ever After” right along with Sylvie. I just wish the writing and editing had been a little tighter. Then I might have really liked the book.
Book Discussion Questions:
Why did Sylvie make the promise on the airplane that she did?
Should a promise like that be kept or disregarded as a moment of hysteria?
What would most people do in that situation?
What does Sylvie do that makes her such a good teacher?
What should she have done differently?
How should she have handled what Ben and Evan said/did differently?
Why did the kids like her so much compared to some of the other teachers?
What was the “something good” that she accomplished over the year?
Why did she leave teaching? Should she have left?
What is “something good” that you would like to accomplish?