Tuesday, January 02, 2007

To Sir, With Love by E.R. Braithwaite

When my oldest son was a junior in high school taking British Literature, he had to read To Sir, With Love by E.R. Braithwaite. All I knew about this book was that a movie had been made based on, along with the film's ubiquitous title song, sung by Lulu.

The book is based on the life of the author who as an unemployed engineer takes a job at a tough school in London's East End. After losing his temper at the students one day, he returns with a different approach, he insists they treat him with respect and he will do the same for them. Although the film with its music and clothes makes the story seem very dated, it's a pretty timeless tale and one that was retold by author Frank McCourt in the third installment of his life story entitled Teacher Man. McCourt tells about teaching in a vocational high school in NY in the 1950s so it's a close parallel to Braithwaite's story.

Last night we watched the movie and were struck by the fact that the title song is used not once, not twice, but three times in the film! Seems a bit excessive but it was a different time and place, I s'pose.