Dick Hammer is a first-year teacher in serious trouble. Dick feels passionately drawn to one of his Fifth Grade students. Danilee Kindle is bright, beautiful, willful and needy. “A potent mix.” The more time he spends with the abandoned girl, and the more intimate they become, the more scrutiny Dick feels from his colleagues, his principal, and his wife. When Dick drives Danilee away from the gates of Cherry Blossom Elementary, fleeing forces that threaten to harm the girl, and keep the two of them apart, he heads toward the border. Impelled by the best of intentions, Dick knows that he has crossed the line. He sets out on a journey from which he can never return.
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About the Author
Richard Diedrichs grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He edited and wrote for magazines in Seattle, ran an editing service in Berkeley, and taught Fourth and Fifth Grades, and Kindergarten, in public elementary schools around the east San Francisco Bay Area. He lives with his wife on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cherry Blossom based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
I've read thousands of books - literally - and this is the first time I can remember when the protagonist of a book frustrated me to the point where I wanted to shake a little sense into him. Dick Hammer needs to grow up and join the rest of us adults in the real world. At first, I felt a little sorry for him. After all, being saddled with a name like Dick Hammer couldn't have been easy. His wife seems to be a self centered, bipolar witch for whom Dick let go a tenured position with a small college. She has a career as a potential partner in a law firm but Dick, who had trouble finding a job in the new city, finally went back to school and earned his certification as an elementary school teacher. Dick is having trouble with the new career because the kids are a challenging, interracial mix that he has trouble controlling, much less educating. He does start to care about the kids, though and soon is especially concerned about the welfare of two girls in his class. That's a great idea in theory, but Dirck (who changed his name because the kiddies made fun of it) lacks common sense. Yes, he spends time alone with the girls, especially pretty little Danilee. Yes, he sees her outside of school. Is he a pedophile? No, he's simply a very naive and stupid man who chooses to make his grand stand of integrity by rescuing two young girls, taking them away from their families, taking them in his car, taking one of them out of town...all against the advice of the Principal and his friend the Speech Teacher. Get the picture? It is simply unthinkable that any man over the age of 16 could be this stupid or this naive. Even if he really wants to protect Danilee, teaching her that it's okay to leave town with an adult male is a bad move. It's not a bad book, quite the contrary. It's well written and well edited. It's just that idiotic protagonist. I still want to shake some sense into him
Cherry Blossom, by Richard DieDrichs, is about a first year teacher named Dick Hammer. Dick is a fifth grade teacher, and his class is sort of a mash up of the unwanted children from the other fifth grade classes. These children prove to be the "problem children" so to speak, and the experience is one that Dick was not expecting. Prior to this job, Dick had only taught college level English, where he dealt with adult students. Working with children, and this group in particular, is something that made him question his occupational choice. I definitely enjoyed reading this book. I felt that the author does a great job at telling this story and painting a picture for his audience. Not only does the author describe each of the characters for his readers, but he allows the characters to grow in front of the readers. I felt that this made me feel slightly connected, especially to Dick, as I almost felt bad for him at times or happy for him when things began to work in his favor. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable read, and I myself will look forward to reading more by this author in the future.
Dick Hammer is a brand new teacher who has a classroom full of the students that the other fifth grade teachers don't want to deal with. Most of them have problems at home, and become problem children in the classroom. A particular little girl, Danilee, stands out to Dick, and she too has problems with her home life. I found his interest in little girls, and the subtle hints that the author wrote, to sound a little too much like a pedophile. He even wonders what it might be like to teach at an all girls school. He finds himself disappointed when he cannot get a hug goodbye, or when Danilee has to leave at the end of the school day. At one point he even says that he was drawn to her, like a twig to an eddy. Another quote that seemed to lead to pedophile was "It was the first time he had touched her body. The connection moved through his fingertips and palms, and radiated into his arms and chest. By page 75 I was just waiting for Dick to slip up and do some horrible act to this young innocent soul. Mr. Hammer is constantly thinking about how it might look if he was alone with Danilee, and purposely puts himself in a public area where others can see that he is up to no good. This sounds like a guilty conscience to me. Danilee is going through rough times in at home, Dick seems to think he can solve all this little girls problems and be the hero to the story. In reality, a middle aged man cannot try to assist a fifth grader in her personal life without being labeled as a pedophile. His moody, irritable, and condescending wife who is clinically depressed is the first one to label Dick as a pedophile when Dick purposes Danilee come live with them for a short period. In the end, things work out for Dick, just not at Cherry Blossom School. He starts his life fresh and no one presses charges against him. He seems to think he was doing the best thing for the girl, but don't some other pedophiles feel the same way? I think his actions really gave the impression that he had some sort of sick thoughts about young girls. I wish Richard Diedrichs had closed up the book a little better, by answering all the questions about Dick that I was dying to learn by the end of the book. I would rate this book a 4/5 because overall it was a book that I couldn't put down and enjoyed reading.
Dick Hammer is a first year teacher who starts his teaching career mid-term. His class of 33 fifth-grade students was formed by taking children from the two other fifth-grade classes. Since those teachers were allowed to pick the students to give him, he ended up with the problem children. His job becomes an eye opening experience. He has only taught college English so is not sure if this new job is what he should be doing. Life, both private and professional, is a challenge. Cherry Blossom has a well written plot that kept me interested and guessing to the end. The author, Richard Diedrichs, did a good job of making the characters true to life and believable. You get a mental picture of each one in your mind as you read the story. Due to Mr. Diedrichs character description of Dick, you feel a little sorry for him in the beginning. But as he grows as a person and teacher, you began to celebrate his achievements with him. This is a good book, and I enjoyed reading it.