“Teachers Have 9 Lives: An Underground to Surface Exposure” by Hannah Hope

Hannah Hope
Outskirts Press (2019)
ISBN 9781977204417
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (12/19)

“Teachers Have 9 Lives: An Underground to Surface Exposure” by Hannah Hope is truly unlike anything I’ve ever read before!

The author is a teacher who has taught for over 20 years in the inner-cities public school system. Hope started journaling her experiences in 1990 and this book stems from her journal entries. In it, she shares some thought-provoking material on the state of public education, providing readers with her personal insight on all issues surrounding education, teachers, and their impact on society. Hope also expands her thoughts beyond the classroom, diving into areas such as history, politics, climate control, ethics (or lack thereof), crime, and more.

Though inspired by the real challenges of the education system and the author’s personal experiences and opinions, the book is classified as a work of fiction and reads like freeform poetry in a futuristic, sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian sort of way – unique to be sure. The layout certainly supports a poetic presentation. The story unfolds as a classroom drama, the pages revealing scattered thoughts and tidbits of various topics through conversations, or lessons, between the teacher and students. It also presents in the form of poems, charts, bullet points, and other atypical formats.

There is a lot of information to digest in “Teachers Have 9 Lives,” and it’s not a book that will be read in one sitting.  In fact, it will take quite some time to get through it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help feeling like the message got lost in the translation, mainly due to the randomness of the layout. At times, I wasn’t sure where to read next, finding the flow disjointed and distracting.

“Teachers Have 9 Lives: An Underground to Surface Exposure” by Hannah Hope clearly emanates the author’s distinctive voice and it is obvious she has a lot of knowledge to share with the world. There are pieces of information in this book that are gold, if you can get past the less than functional presentation. Personally, I would love to have seen this subject matter written in a more formal style in order to better absorb the author’s message.

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