Today it is my stop on the blog tour for 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe. I have yet to read the book but it sounds great and that’s why I wanted to be part of the tour, even though I didn’t have time to read the book yet. Instead the author has given us a fun list of things about it that will make you laugh.
- I am Irish-Italian. This means two things – Catholicism and a huge temper. I don’t often lose my temper but when I do, Vesuvius and Etna spring to mind.
- My favourite book is ‘Not Now, Bernard’. This is because
- It features my name in the title
- I read it to both my children when they were babies
- I, like Bernard, feel I am often being ignored
- It’s about an enormous child-eating monster.
- I can’t drive. I tried, but it just wasn’t for me. Of the tests I failed, two involved the examiner grabbing the wheel to steer the car away from parked vehicles – in one case this was about ten seconds into the test.
- When I was teaching I found my ability to make two sounds very useful. The first was being able to whistle very loudly with my fingers. It’s a skill that’s served me well in all kinds of places (football matches, concerts) but a really loud whistle can have a great effect in the classroom. I can also do a very good impression of a clucking chicken. A well-timed chicken cluck can be both amusing and terrifying.
- Before I became a teacher I worked in advertising and was nearly recruited as a spy. Had I become one I already had a name sorted out – agent Double O’Keeffe/ OOKeeffe
- I am named after a nun. My cat is named after the country singer Emmylou Harris
- I hated writing school reports. I only ever wrote one I was pleased with. It was about a pupil who hadn’t been doing particularly well. It read – ‘ X has not only taken his foot off the pedal – he has got out of the car and abandoned the vehicle’.
- I taught the banjo player in ‘Mumford and Sons’, three members of ‘Noah and The Whale’ and two members of ‘Crystal Fighters’
- I am a huge fan of Leonard Cohen and a QPR season ticket holder – two things which reflect my willingness to look for moments of joy and hope amongst the gloom. One of my favourite Leonard Cohen lines is ‘there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’.
- One of my most embarrassing moments (up there with my driving tests) was an appearance on a TV quiz show. It was called ‘Masterteam’ and it was on BBC in the late 1980’s hosted by Angela Rippon. The question was ‘Of what was Senator Joseph McCarthy talking when he said ‘it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck’. The answer was ‘communist’ but for some reason I pressed the buzzer and said ‘a duck’, Everyone laughed. Angela Rippon laughed. The audience laughed. My team laughed.
Ruby has had a difficult year to say the least. Just before she started Sixth Form, her father died from a heart attack. In the difficult months that followed Ruby became so depressed that she attempted suicide. She missed a lot of school, but now she’s about to go back and she’s worried. Is she well enough to get through her final year? Will the depression return? Should she apply to university? The night before term begins, Ruby finds something that makes the prospect even more daunting: an envelope addressed to her in her father’s handwriting. Inside is a list: ‘Ten Things I Hope You Do Before You Leave School’. It makes no sense. She can’t understand why he’d want her to do these things, let alone whether she’ll be able to do them. As Ruby navigates her way through UCAS, parties, boyfriends and A-Levels, she decides to give the list her best shot, but her efforts lead her into strange situations and to surprising discoveries. Will Ruby survive her last year at school? Can she do the ten things on The List? Will doing them make any difference?
About The Author:
After graduating from Oxford, Bernard O’Keeffe worked in advertising before training as a teacher. He taught for many years, first in a North London comprehensive, then at Radley College, where he was Head of English, and most recently at St Paul’s School in London, where he was Head of Sixth Form.
He has reviewed fiction for Literary Review and The Oxford Times and, as an editor of The English Review, has written over a hundred articles for A Level students on subjects ranging from Nick Hornby and Roddy Doyle to Jane Austen and Shakespeare. In 2013 he published his first novel, ‘No Regrets’.
Twitter : @BernardOKeeffe1