Ms. Beatrice Hempel, a seventh-grade teacher, is new to teaching, new to the school, newly engaged, and newly bereft of her devoted father. Overwhelmed by her newness, she struggles to figure out what is expected of her in life and at work. Is it acceptable to introduce swear words to the English curriculum, enlist students to write their own report cards, or bring up personal experiences while teaching a sex education class?
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum finds characters at their most vulnerable and then explores those precarious moments in sharp, graceful prose. This is a journey down the rabbit hole to the wonderland of middle school, memory, daydreaming, and the extraordinary business of growing up.