The Lesson Plan

The Lesson Plan

by G.J. Prager



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936127320
Publisher: WhoooDoo Mysteries
Publication date: 03/11/2011
Pages: 218
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

G.J. Prager currently lives in Los Angeles. A New York native, he's worked as an actor on stage, TV, and in film, and taught literature and drama at a Los Angeles high school. 'The Lesson Plan' is his first novel.

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Lesson Plan 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
G.J. Prager is a name to watch. THE LESSON PLAN may be his first novel but it is so successfully written that it suggests we have a new burgeoning talent among us! On the surface this novel seems to be a first person narrated story shared by a frustrated Robert Klayman who is unemployed, living from paycheck to paycheck by serving as a substitute teacher in Santa Monica, California to pay the rent in a shambles of an apartment he shares with his faithful cohort dog Homer, unattached to a significant other and ever obsessed with physical attractions/encounters, whose dream it is to become a Private Investigator. But there is so much more. At story's beginning Klayman is working an assignment for one detective Cal Keller - following a blonde woman who Klayman succeeds in tracing only to be conked out when he discovers her dead, bloody body. Cal dismisses Klayman for a botched case forcing Klayman to continue his substitute of a life as an oncall teacher replacement. But Klayman's school jobs happen to introduce him to a fellow substitute teacher Sheila with whom he not only finally relates but also beds, only to be asked by the woman to drive to Arizona to deliver a package to her son who has been taken from her by her ex-husband. This leads Klayman into a quagmire of new problems - drugs, a shooting, being chased by police - until he escapes back to Santa Monica and the presumed boring quiet of his substitute life only to have eyes for a voluptuous student Maria who he involves in his pursuing a discovery that there is a drug ring active in the school system. It is this back and forth slamming from the boring life of a substitute teacher enhanced or compounded with an almost inadvertent entry in the role of a PI that drives this little novel home. Yes, this is a solid and well constructed story that once started makes the reader stay with it until the end (even an all-nighter in this reader's case!). But what the too brief synopsis does not reveal is a writer who happens to be one of the best to describe the Southern California life - weather, traffic on the freeway, loose livers, drugs and other digressions, and the apparent inability to follow a dream successfully. In the author's words: 'Life can play clever tricks on us mortals who wait desperately for dreams to come true, realizing only too late that it's an end game and much too short at that. Reaching middle age without accumulating a formidable bank account can leave a man bitter and emasculated, ruminating on every lost opportunity that ever came his way. Nothing I ever did made me money; lady luck's a discriminating b***h that won't invite just anyone up to her room.' And in addition to be a painter of landscape and figurative canvases as well as anyone writing today he maintains an extraordinarily fine-tuned sense of humor, no matter how desperate a situation he is describing. Readers will attach themselves to this social malaprop and see the madness of the world through his distorted vision, identifying with those contemporary frustrations and maladjustments he somehow survives, and stand and root for him all the way: there is a dollop of Robert Klayman in each of us - at least in Southern California. Think of his circle: Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, Matt Groening, Evelyn Waugh - and add a comedy vein of gold. Welcome G.J.Prager! Grady Harp
bwbatlarge More than 1 year ago
G.J. Prager's The Lesson Plan chronicles the story of Robert Klayman, a substitute high school teacher in Los Angeles who is facing a mid-life crisis after failing to achieve any hopes of a high salary, successful career, or life; this is a man who never got his "piece of the pie." Klayman "got down to business" and "thought up a career path you can't find in one of those self-help guides at the local bookstore," making the decision to become a private detective. Although it is overtly a suspenseful detective story, interwoven is the story of a mid-life crisis and portrait of life in Los Angeles. Prager's observations are startlingly insightful, and through Klayman's thoughts and musings, readers are left with deeper messages about life and humanity, for example: "Life can play clever tricks on us mortals who wait desperately for dreams to come true, realizing only too late that it's an end game and much too short at that. Reaching middle age without accumulating a formidable bank account can leave a man bitter and emasculated, ruminating on every lost opportunity that ever came his way." Klayman stumbles through life, trying on careers, personas, and women--all in an attempt to find a deeper meaning and a sense of self. With each new job, Klayman tries to "find himself," adopting personas that range from Humphrey Bogart to Jay Gatsby. Prager offers perspectives on life in Los Angeles through his astute assessments, revealed through the musings and conversations of Klayman, who ruminates that it is a "cold hard fact that a man's self-respect starts at around two hundred grand a year in the City of Angels," his sardonic comment that he joined "AA... Actors Anonymous," and his reflections that he lives in a "mindless" city where he is "just going through the motions" and "Everyone's grabbing a piece of the pie and leaving me with nothing but crumbs." Prager interweaves Albert Hammond's cynical lyrics to "It Never Rains in California" with the thoughts of Klayman, another broken Californian--which inevitably becomes the theme song readers will associate with the hero. Klayman gets swept up investigating a criminal drug ring that is working out of the Los Angeles Unified School District, following a teacher, Ms. Briggs, who is murdered one week subsequent to her request to be transferred to another school. Klayman believes Ms. Briggs came too close to the truth for the comfort of the well-respected man who lies at the center of the intrigue. The Lesson Plan offers both an intriguing plot and the artistic rendering of a man flailing in his mid-life crisis, seeking desperately for a meaningful identity. Through his deep assessments of humanity and the city of Los Angeles, Prager offers readers insights and themes that are thought provoking and lend to the strength of the novel, coming to speak for both a generation and a city.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago