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A Place to Live by Jean-Philippe Blondel

School should be a nice place, somewhere that laughter and friends fit seamlessly in between class and studying. Right? But when Mr. Langley, the new principal takes over, everything changes. He’s more concerned with test results than students, so he enacts a new set of rules: no sitting in the hall, no hanging out at school, no PDA, and a stricter dress code. All this is part of his grand scheme to beat the laziness out of students with good old fashioned work. The general reaction to this: surprisingly nothing. Everybody’s shocked, sure, but nobody has the guts to break these new rules until one boy stands up. His new project delves into the emotions of his school, raw and real, and will force everyone to realize that school is not just a place to work, but a place to live.

A Place to Live is part of the new Single Voice series, a set of stories each told from, you guessed it, a single voice. The narration in A Place to Live seems somehow different from most stories told from the first person point of view. Much of the content is intensely personal, yet I never really felt very connected to the protagonist. Personally, I think this is because the reader never finds out the protagonist’s name. While having a nameless protagonist does grant a certain degree of universality because of the anonymity, I felt this actually worked against A Place to Live by making it too impersonal, despite its content. On another note, the ideas presented in this story are certainly interesting, as if the way the stifling new school rules are met with a unique video project. Overall, A Place to Live is interesting at best, though, and unfortunately too short to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

A Place to Live will be enjoyed by those who like the other stories in the Single Voice series.

Rating: 3.25

Review copy from publisher Annick Press


Find out more about the Single Voice series at: http://www.annickpress.com/singlevoice

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