Could Do Better
School Reports of the Great and Good
Edited by Catherine Hurley
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Could Do Better by Catherine Hurley
Book DescriptionA few examples: Richard Briers: 'It would seem that Briers thinks he is running the school and not me. If this attitude persists one of us will have to leave.' Robert Graves: 'Well, goodbye Graves, and remember that your best friend is the waste-paper basket.' Jilly Cooper: 'Jilly has set herself an extremely low standard which she has failed to maintain.' Michael Palin: 'I think he is just a teeny bit pleased with himself - or so I am prepared to hazard.'
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780743450256
(137mm x 156mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Pocket Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: 27-Sep-2003
Country of Publication: United States
UK Kirkus Review » One of the joys of reading the school reports of the rich and successful lies in our knowledge that their early failures had no repercussions on their later successes. Thus, when the young Eric Morecambe was informed that: 'This boy will never get anywhere in life', we are comforted that our own teachers may well have got it wrong, and fame yet awaits. Yet the interest in this book lies not just in such straw-clutching but also in the rather unpleasant realization that teachers seem to get it right just as often as wrong. Thus, for every time a Winston Churchill was solemnly informed that 'he has no ambition', we find a more prescient judgement on a Stafford Cripps that notes he is 'a fellow of quite first rate ability... of real high purpose and genuine appreciation'. An excellent introduction by Hurley and some nicely judged fictional interludes add weight to this slim collection of remarks made about entertainers, journalists, writers, statesmen and academics. Some teachers may well have missed their vocation as humorists, as with actor Richard Briers's headmaster: 'It would seem that Briers thinks he is running the school and not me... one of us will have to leave', while some are downright nasty, like a prefect who wrote of politician Michael Heseltine: 'rebellious, objectionable, idle, imbecilic, inefficient, antagonising, untidy, lunatic, albino, conceited, inflated, impertinent, underhand, lazy and smug.' Other reports, while less vicious, reveal unconsidered weaknesses in their subject: Harry Enfield was very poor at cricket, for example, while presenter Sue Lawley's PE teacher feared she had 'glue in her plimsolls'. The critic Cyril Connolly meanwhile was told that 'his work, like his hair, is always unkempt and, like his hands and face, frequently dirty.' All in all, a highly entertaining and rather revelatory volume, published to raise funds for the Dyslexia Institute. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Catherine Hurley
Catherine Hurley is a freelance editor.
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