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Posted March 15, 2011
Keeping Up Appearances is about people who struggle. Set in a middle school, the reader is taken on an exploration of the difficulties faced by lesbian teachers, the battles that revolve around special education students and the unhappiness of a child who tries to relieve her pain by cutting herself.
The interactions between the characters send several messages. Sometimes in schools and life decisions are made not in the best interests of the people involved, but because they are politically expedient. People can get so caught up in their own interests and concerns that they fail to see or understand what other people are coping with. People with good intentions can often disagree on a course of action because of their own perspectives or because they fail to comprehend another person's motivations. Prejudice comes in many forms, whether racial, sexual, economic or involving those with special needs. Finally, the life that evolves in a school is extremely complex in its relationships and subtleness. Anyone who thinks there are easy solutions to any of these situations has failed to grasp what is going on.
Ann Roberts has created a book that could be dismissed as a romance that takes place in a school, but there is a lot more going on in this story. She blends the stories together in a seamless manner. Someone might read this and only see the plot lines while missing the connections between them. That would be a shame. There is a lot to think about in this book and it deserves more attention than to just be considered another romance.
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