DSM: novel of destructive traditional schooling

From: Hunderhill@aol.com
Date: Fri Nov 23 2001 - 03:27:50 EST


I've stayed up way too late this Thanksgiving finishing reading an horrific
book about private schools and college admissions pressures. It tends to
confirm the value of the Sudbury model.

It's by Josiah Bunting III, and is called ALL LOVES EXCELLING. It's
published by Bridge Works Publishing, Bridgehampton, N.Y.

It's about an only child, a girl attending as a post graduate student, a
fictional boarding school in upstate New York called St. Matthew's.

The book tells the story of how parental expectations combine with the girl's
own dutifulness in pushing for a specific college admission (in this case
Dartmouth), to drive the girl to anorexia, (hyperexercise, isolation,
restriction, and binging and purging), self-medication, and finally suicide
when she doesn't get in. She can't bear the thought of her mother's rage
disguised as supportive compassion. The book seems at first to be a
celebration of rigor, but by the end becomes an indictement, not of rigor
exactly, but of meaningless rigor. It's sort of a co-ed Dead Poet's
Society. The villain is the mother who pushed rather than loved.

If anyone ever needs a fictionalized account of the opposite of the SVM, this
book might do. It's an angry indictment of abusive education.

Harlan Underhill

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