The Topeka School

By: Ben Lerner

Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of ’97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting “lost boys” to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is one of the cool kids, ready to fight or, better, freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who bring the loner Darren Eberheart—who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father’s patient—into the social scene, to disastrous effect.

Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is the story of a family, its struggles and its strengths: Jane’s reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan’s marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the New Right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.

ISBN: 9780374277789

JLG Release: Dec 2019


Sensitive Areas: Drugs; Marijuana; Strong language; Strong sexual themes; Underage drinking; Violence
Topics: High schools , Competitive debate , Psychiatric clinics , Families , Topeka, Kansas

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Awards & Honors

Kirkus Best Books - 2019

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, Booklist

Book Details

ISBN

9780374277789

First Release

December 2019

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Page Count

304

Accelerated Reader

Level 0; Points: 0;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Adult

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Drugs; Marijuana; Strong language; Strong sexual themes; Underage drinking; Violence

Topics

High schools, Competitive debate, Psychiatric clinics, Families, Topeka, Kansas,

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