With his latest book, best-selling writer James Pitterdaughter is achieving unheard of success, even for this author who has conquered the bland fiction charts, branched into children’s books and young adult flying fantasy and even uses a ghost writer when he needs to take a break between books for lunch.
Pitterdaughter’s Along Came a Teacher . . . Who Kills People has shot up to number 3 on the bestseller charts in only four weeks of its release. The book, which Pitterdaughter said would be the first in a series, follows high school English teacher turned serial killer Amillia Floss on her journey to rid the world of evil, while expounding on the meter in Thomas Hardy’s poetry to her senior students who refuse to read George Eliot because she was ugly.
Floss, a career teacher at fictitious Jonesborough High, in the fictitious town of Borough,Nebraska, is already being compared to Dexter, the infamous serial killer in the popular HBO series who only kills other serial killers or evil people. Floss, however, kills those opposed to logic and reason. Not surprisingly, the majority of victims in this novel hail from the world of institutional and bureaucratic education-land.
“I’m not sure why this book has taken off like it has,” Pitterdaughter said in a recent interview, using a speakerphone so he could type his next book at the same time. “I suppose the recent backlash against teachers might be behind it.”
Though not a “Pitterdaughter fan,” 4th grade Omaha Washington Elementary teacher Jane Stein said, “I enjoyed the book. It’s like watching Gunsmoke or Judge Judy. You know the bastards will get what’s coming to them. In real life, teachers never get justice for the crimes of the higher-ups.”
The main plot of Along Came a Teacher centers on a pyramid scheme to raise test scores that pits superintendents against one another and teachers against superintendents and pitbulls against calico cats and kids on 504s against kids riding the #3 bus route. The branching subplots must all be explored and connected by Floss, a no-nonsense teacher known for throwing chalk when in dire straits and teleporting as a plot device when creativity fails. The superintendents’ ponzi scheme must be ferreted out and the guilty parties punished . . . and boy, does Ms Floss know how to punish!
“It’s only natural for Mr. Pitterdaughter to capitalize on the current educational climate, and maybe the book can produce some positive changes,” said actual Nebraska high school English teacher Teresa Burchett, “If it were well-written, no one would read it.”
The sequel to the book, Pop Goes the Teacher . . . Who Kills People, will be out early next year. TWP was unable to get any Nebraska administrators or education department officials to comment on Pitterdaughter’s book, though several remarked on the “paradigm shift” the book appeared to be making.