Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough, Jr.’s You Are Not Special… and Other Encouragements book launches today, April 22. Wellesley High senior Chris Ulian, who hasn’t had McCullough as a teacher but is well aware of his good reputation as an instructor, kindly volunteered to review it for us:
While McCullough’s tone of dire urgency can seem slightly unnecessary (at times there’s a sense that he might just be nostalgic for a “simpler age”), his ideas are well-supported by anecdotes, near-constant references to works from the high school literary canon (Hamlet, The Great Gatsby, Walden), and the unmistakable authority lent by nearly 30 years of teaching. Unsurprisingly, the book is strongest when McCullough focuses on teachers and classroom dynamics. In all, You Are Not Special is a wide-ranging commentary on the way children grow up today. It is a work that ought to hold special relevance in the Wellesley community — here we have unadulterated input from a man who knows our schools and kids better than almost anyone else. Even if you didn’t agree with McCullough’s speech, this is essential reading.
RELATED: Newsweek reviews the book