Friday, 11 September 2020

Book Review: The Good Teacher by Petronella McGovern

The Good Teacher
Petronella McGovern

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 1st September 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 416
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Every evening, Allison watches her husband's new house, desperate to find some answers. Every morning, she puts on a brave face to teach kindergarten. She's a good teacher, everyone says so - this stalking is just a tiny crack in her usual self-control.

A late enrolment into her class brings little Gracie - sick and grieving. Allison takes the girl and her father, Luke, under her wing. She smothers Gracie with the love she can't give her own son. As others question her judgement and the police arrive at her door, Allison starts to wonder if she can trust herself.

When Gracie has a chance to go to America for treatment, Allison leads the school in a fundraising drive. But has she crossed a line?

How far will the good teacher go to save a life? And whose life will that be?

An intriguing tale of our times about kindness and betrayal, and the danger of good deeds.
My Review

Petronella McGovern has delivered again in her second offering in the domestic fiction genre.

Allison Walsh is The Good Teacher always going above and beyond for her students and their families, but now her husband has left her, and her 15 year old son Felix with him, for another woman and she is reduced to stalking his house to get a glimpse of the woman who stole her family.

It's a new school year and Luke and his 5 year old daughter Gracie have moved to Sydney to be treated at the children's hospital for Gracie's rare form of cancer. Allison invites Luke and Gracie to stay with her while they save for a life saving trip to America. Allison's invitation isn't wholly selfless as she pours all her energy into raising money for Gracie's trip is she using Luke and Gracie to replace the family she lost?

"Allison had realised that family didn't have to be narrowed down to Tony and Felix, it could be expanded to include whomever she wanted."

McGovern has highlighted the wonderful giving nature of people who will go out of their way to help others. Luke and Gracie are welcomed into the community with open arms.

Told in multiple points of view, each character has their own agenda around helping Gracie.

I like the short chapters on Felix's point of view and how the themes of Felix's school text, Othello, tie into events happening in his real life.

As with McGovern's previous novel, there is so much happening and it's all pertinent so I can't say too much without spoilers. There are plenty of red herrings and twists along the way. The Good Teacher induced a roller coaster of emotions; empathy, pride, sorrow, anger, satisfaction and joy.

Following on from  her success with Six Minutes Petronella McGovern has now, with her release of The Good Teacher placed herself firmly as the Queen of Australian domestic fiction.

About the author

Photo: Goodreads

Petronella McGovern is a writer and editor who grew up on a farm outside Bathurst, New South Wales. After working in Canberra for a number of years, she now lives on Sydney's northern beaches with her husband and two children. Her best-selling novel, Six Minutes, was published in 2019 and long-listed for the Australian Independent Bookseller Awards.

The Good Teacher is her second novel.

Author website  ||  Facebook  || Twitter  || Instagram

Click on cover to see review

Challenges entered: Aussie author challenge  #AussieAuthor20
                                 Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2020