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Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story
By Jonathan LaPoma
From Inside The Walls Of A Troubled Middle School…
HUMANITY FOUND IN BRUTALLY HONEST LITERARY FICTION REVEALING NEW TEACHER’S STRUGGLE
“…Entertaining and authentic look at the troubled American educational system, courtesy of two men propelled by perseverance and adventuresome spirits.” –Kirkus Reviews
Luke Entelechy wasn’t sure what he would have in common with the challenging students at the underperforming Miami Public Middle School where he was tasked to teach. A recent college grad soaking up all the life a 24-year-old should have, he was unknowingly faced with peeling off the layers of his own unsettled emotional past while relating to the neglect and abuse his students suffered. An honest and authentic look inside the realities of teaching at-risk students combined with the personal and emotional transformation of a young teacher is what readers will experience in Jonathan LaPoma’s Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story [Laughing Fire Press September 14, 2015]—a can’t miss addition to 2015 Literary Fiction reading lists.
Quite true to LaPoma’s own past experiences teaching in a dysfunctional school, Developing Minds is a story of personal triumph whereas the protagonist Luke is forced to confront his all too familiar feelings of shame and isolation. As surviving as a first year teacher requires confidence, patience, and empathy, LaPoma explains, “Teachers are under paid, under equipped, and under appreciated both in and out of the classroom, so the courage and energy and drive to keep going often must be generated from within. It was a great challenge for me to look inward and find that drive. Developing Minds provides an honest look at what’s going on behind closed doors without slipping into a cartoonish exaggeration of reality, giving readers a more realistic idea of the problems challenging these schools.”
He continues, “The heart and the soul of education are still there. Education is a collaborative effort. It takes a village to raise a child, and as long as the humanity and drive are still out there, I think we’ll be alright.”
A raw and captivating story proves LaPoma to be a force to be reckoned within the Literary Fiction arena, Developing Minds is already seeing early reviewers connect with Luke’s relatable challenges navigating a difficult career only to find his own potential.
About the Author:
Jonathan LaPoma is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet from Buffalo, NY. In the past ten years, he’s worked in over fifteen American public schools as either a substitute or full-time teacher. In 2005, he received a BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Jonathan has written two novels, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of songs and poems. His screenplays have won over forty awards/honors at various international screenwriting competitions, including first-place victories in the 2014 Hollywood Screenplay Contest (Grand Jury Prize), the 2015 Las Vegas Screenplay Contest (two wins: Grand Jury Prize and Grand Prize for Drama), the 2014 London Film Awards (Grand Prize: Feature Screenplay category), the 2014 Awareness Film Festival, and the 2014 West Field Screenwriting Awards (The New York Award). He lives in San Diego, CA, and teaches at a public secondary school.
Developing Minds [Laughing Fire Press, September 14, 2015] is currently available for pre-order via Amazon.
Learn more about Jonathan and Developing Minds at jonlapoma.com and connect on Facebook and Goodreads.
ADVANCE REVIEW COPIES OF DEVELOPING MINDS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST