“Plenty of teachers have thrown a terrarium out a window and shouted, ‘You’re driving me crazy!’ But you’re the first who actually followed through.”
First off I have to say that this book wasn’t at all what I first expected. I expected a witty commentary about how a school teacher in the midst of a midlife crisis is handling school systems, parents, and disrespectful students. What I got instead was a book full of life lessons learned through experience and through the eyes of others.
The three main characters are Laurel Freedman- the teacher- and two of her students, Janice and Cody. Laurel’s mother had mental problems of her own, and her father wasn’t exactly “Father of the Year” material, but she was a young teacher determined she would change the world through her students. BUT, she suffers from a mental disorder (bipolar?) which eventually leads her to a mental breakdown- which is really where the novel begins (our story here isn’t linear).
Janice was abandoned by her mother as a child, and left to live with her aunt when her father remarries. Her character is a hurting teenage girl with a problem “acting out” for attention.
Cody is the dreamer/geek of the group. His short stories are my favorite featured in the novel and will most likely get the most laughs.
There are times when the point of view switches to second person, which really just confuses the story and made me want to skim over those parts. The rest of the story is first person from one character to another through letters, e-mails, cookbook recipes, and short stories- which really worked. I don’t know why there were sudden switches to second person that just blew off the flow of the story.
Overall, I would recommend When Mystical Creatures Attack to anyone who enjoys novels with mixed media (email, letters, etc…) and that’s hits serious topics but still a bit on the silly side.