Monday 12 September 2022

Book Review: The School by Brendan James Murray

 The School: The ups and downs of one year in the classroom
Brendan James Murray

One teacher. One school. One year.

Imprint: Picador Australia
Publication date: 25th May 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography 
Pages: 416
RRP: $ 34.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
My review of The School
Brendan James Murray has been a high school teacher for over a decade. In The School he combines students and events from his vast teaching career into one year at a Government high school situated on the Victorian coast.
Murray includes moments from his own life as a student filled with self doubt and bullying as the story moves from present day to his own days at school. His obvious affection for his students shines through as he talks about a myriad of students that come and go through his teaching life and the ones that made a lasting impression. 
I didn't agree with all of Murray's thoughts on the education system but I must admit I was nodding along to many of his words.
Highly recommended reading for all teachers and parents of teenagers. Adolescence is a hard road and for some teens their teachers are the only positive role models they have. It was encouraging to read about a teacher who is so passionate about his role, not only as a teacher but also as a mentor to these children.
The School is an insightful and, at times, heart-wrenching account of life in a secondary school. 
My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
Photo credit: Yanni
Brendan James Murray is an award-winning author and teacher. He has twice received National Literary Awards from the Fellowship of Australian Writers for his short stories, and his first book The Drowned Man, was joint winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best True Crime in 2017. His second book, the critically acclaimed Venom, was featured in the ABC's Conversations program as part of the 'Best of 2018' series. He lives in the Mornington Peninsula with his wife, who is also a teacher.


  1. Oooh, this sounds like an interesting read! I've been coming across more and more teachers' stories on Twitter, and so many of them are heart-wrenching and so many of them are uplifting and some manage to be both at once. I'll keep an eye out for this one!

    1. Teachers get a lot of criticism. I don’t think most people really understand all that they do.