Monday, June 9, 2014

Review by Jodi: Everything I Know by Josh Lanyon

Title: Everything I Know
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Just Joshin’
Rating: 4.5


Connor loves teaching. He loves working with kids, he loves feeling like he's making a difference. And the kids -- and parents -- seem to love him. Until the afternoon he makes a small error in judgment, and an angry father's thoughtless comments start the kind of rumor that destroys careers. And lives.

Now everything Connor thought he knew about himself and his world is in doubt. But sometimes help comes from the most unexpected direction.


Josh Lanyon grabs the reader’s attention quickly and thoroughly with the novella Everything I Know. Inspired by Robert Fulhum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, this story is charming and realistic. The list at the beginning of the book sets the tone for this tale. The intriguing, realistic characters draw the reader into the plot through the wonderful, and sometimes humorous, dialogue.

With the following ominous words, the reader is drawn into the life of Conner Meyers:

It’s true what they say. Shit happens. It happens fast. In the blink of an eye.

Or, in Con’s case, out of the corner of his eye.

He caught a flash of small black patent leather shows kicking in the air, a wild flutter of pale pink—heard a frightened squeal.

At the same instant, Miss Pip exclaimed, “Oh shit.”

Conner Myers loves teaching kindergarten. He loves the students; he is friends with his fellow teachers. He even likes some of the parents, especially the hot Wes Callahan, Lizzy’s father. But when Lizzy is injured on the playground, Conner’s world turns upside down. Without a clear school policy in place and with a very upset little girl on his hands, literally, Conner takes Lizzy to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.

Wes Callahan, Lizzy’s over protective father, is not pleased when he finds out that not only has Lizzy been hurt at the school, but also one of her teachers has driven her to the hospital in his personal car – without permission. To say Callahan is completely freaked out would be an understatement.

“If you wanted to help, you’d have done your job and made sure she wasn’t hurt in the first place.” He jabbed his finger at Con’s chest for emphasis. “I’m holding you personally responsible for this, Myers.”

At that is just the tip of the iceberg. In a flash of fury, Callahan spews out some very nasty accusations. It is clear later in the story that he does not realize what he has said though to Conner, everyone within hearing at the hospital and Conner’s bosses.

Con couldn’t have responded to save his life. He had anticipated Callahan being upset, worried, alarmed, He hadn’t expected fury. Let alone fury directed at himself. It felt like he was watching this play out in the distance. Not far of a distance unfortunately.

It is not until a chance meeting at the grocery store that Wes Callahan learns the consequences of his tirade.

Callahan looked blanker than a Monday morning chalkboard. But then, then recognition dawned. Remembrance. He actually seemed to lose color. For just a second he looked stricken. “No,” he said. “I didn’t – I never –“His normal healthy color returned flooding his face, and blurted, “I never, I swear to God, never suggested –“

“Bullshit. You said it my face!”

Callahan gaped. Probably not an expression many people saw on Wes Callahan’s face. “I what? That’s not what I said. It sure as hell isn’t’ what I meant. That thought has never entered my mind. Is that what they said to you?”

In this novella, Josh Lanyon has created a realistic and tension-filled tale. The turmoil in this story, unfortunately, is representative of the real world of education. The prejudices against male teachers, especially male elementary school teachers, are very real, and this story brings this issue front and center. The relationship that develops between Wes and Conner seems unlikely and yet it is sort of perfect.

It was awkward.

No two ways about it. Agreeing to a date with Wes Callahan has been a huge mistake. Well, maybe not a huge mistake, because Con would get a good dinner out of it— and he couldn’t afford to turn down any free meals these days –but it was a mistake.

And he was pretty sure Callahan –Wes— felt the same way. Not that Con could tell, because Callahan –Wes—hasn’t said more than ten words to him after picking Con up promptly at seven.

Although it doesn’t seem like a relationship between Wes and Conner can work, the chemistry is definitely present. But Wes likes to jump to conclusions, and he ungraciously plows down everything in his wake, and that, of course, includes Conner and Conner’s feelings.

This is a great story, and Lanyon’s talents once again shine through character development and dialogue. Callahan’s simple admission that he is an ass adds a touch of humor that helps bring realism to romantic aspect of the story. In typical Josh Lanyon style, the characters and plot are presented in an engaging fashion and the reader is left wanting for more.

Thank you to Josh Lanyon for providing a review copy of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

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