Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Robert Wilder

Robert Wilder, who tried out the Page 99 Test on his last book, Daddy Needs A Drink, has a new book out: Tales From the Teachers' Lounge.

Greg Toppo interviewed Wilder for USA Today. Here's part of his intro and their first exchange:

In his first book, Daddy Needs a Drink (2006), author Robert Wilder offered a comic, slightly R-rated memoir of parenting. In his new book, Tales From the Teachers' Lounge (Delacorte, $23), Wilder, a longtime English teacher, reflects in similar fashion on his 18 years of teaching — most of them at Santa Fe Preparatory School, a private day school in New Mexico's capital. Wilder, 41, began his 12th year at Prep last week.

Q: The book is full of vivid flashbacks of your own education. In one, you describe a Catholic school nun named Sister St. Ignatius, recalling that you and your classmates "were terrified of upsetting this huge sexless monster." Can you tell us more about her?

A: Years ago, my wife bought me a wind-up toy of a ruler-wielding nun who shot sparks from her mouth. This nunzilla figurine was not unlike my own first-grade teacher, Sister St. Ignatius. She was definitely the valedictator of the "learn through terror" school of pedagogy. On our first day, she dramatically dropped Dick and Jane books on our desks and commanded us to read them. None of us knew how, of course, so we were all terrified that she'd send us to "Purgatory" — the boiler room in the basement that some kind soul had painted red (probably just to haunt our dreams). Most of us spent the first few weeks either crying or trying desperately not to soil ourselves, or both.

Read the entire interview.

Learn more about Tales From the Teachers' Lounge.

--Marshal Zeringue