Jack Parker didn’t set out to be a stay-at-home dad, but his professional dreams went up in smoke after he accidentally burned down his office building. Six years later, Jack’s got parenting his two kids down cold.
Then comes an unwelcome blast from Jack’s past: high school nemesis Chad Henson. He beat out Jack for class president, stole his girlfriend, and never had so much as a pimple in his four years of adolescent bliss. Now Chad has moved to the same midwestern town Jack calls home.
When Jack learns Chad is running for president of his daughter’s school board, he decides to run to settle old scores. But parent politics prove more cutthroat than Jack could have imagined, and he’s facing unexpected challenges in his marriage, too, forcing him to question his role in the family. Suddenly, the election is about more than Jack’s past. It’s an opportunity to discover the person he wants to become.
People grow up, but some high school rivalries never die. It’s time Chad Henson got schooled once and for all—and for Jack to learn a few things of his own.”
Schooled by Ted Foxx (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) was an Amazon First Reads book for September, and as in most cases, the book is now available for $4.99 with an additional $1.99 for the Audible narration or on Kindle Unlimited.
Either you connect with Jack because you experienced a childhood like him, or maybe you were like Chad, who seemingly lived a charmed life and everything went their way. Either way, you’ll either find this story charming, or a whine-fest, depending on your outlook. I happened to read this book a few months after my middle daughter was passed over for student of the year, an honor usually reserved for those students who go out of their way to help out around school, have good grades, and show the greatest amount of growth throughout the school year. She had made great strides in progress, not only academically, but emotionally and socially as well. She became a true leader of the class. However, the award went to the “charmed” student whose family were big boosters of the school. I explained to my daughter that people in our family are not the chosen ones, never have been, never will be. We will always be overlooked.
Saying that, I obviously empathized with Jack, who had a couple of bad breaks in life but otherwise had an okay life. As a stay-at-home Mom for almost 15 years, I remember all those feelings of inadequacy when “all” I was doing was changing diapers and feeding snacks and going to story time at the library trips to the park and bath night and putting kids to bed. Jack’s decision to be a stay-at-home Dad was made for him in a way, just like mine was made for me (I was laid off while pregnant). Both Jack and I embraced the stay-at-home life while our spouses worked long hours and supported the family. But there was always time to dream and wait for the day for the kids to get old enough to be in school and return to the workforce in some way. Jack feels like maybe he’s ready to go back to work, but his much-publicized firing from his last job has him gun-shy. But running for school board president against his high school nemesis? He couldn’t resist.
Schooled was a funny book at times, touching in others, completely convoluted in others. The real-life struggles with juggling schedules with a working spouse when you have little ones evoked memories, The strains on the marriage as you try to do something for yourself, the upending of a way of life you’ve grown accustomed to, all those are real issues families face every day. Fox does a good job at conveying the conflicts as well as the resolutions.
The ending of the book was a little too easy for me, but given the tone of the book, I should have expected it. This was an enjoyable read for me, and if it does nothing else, it shows how we should all get involved in our kids’ schools because they need our help more than ever.
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