Author: Phillip Brown (St John's 1979)
Publisher: DB Publishing, imprint of JMB Media Ltd
Physical and mental exhaustion may seem the hallmarks of 'burnout', but teacher Jack Barker's inner turmoil suggests a deep dissatisfaction with developments in education per se. Disillusioned by his teaching career, and rejecting the bland cliché that education is a preparation for life, he feels that education should aim higher than the status quo and that it is a mission. His disturbed state of mind has repercussions for his family, as he becomes increasingly estranged from both wife and son. Exasperated by disillusionment, and as his domestic life continues to crumble, he encounters an unlikely yet welcome mentor in the form of Alf, who, however, only provides further impetus for Jack's increasing negativity and fall from grace. This is a tale of deep disillusionment, arguably of self-delusion, but also of personal courage; and readers are left to form their own judgement as to the fate of Jack Barker, as the tale turns full circle.