A brief audiobook review: Tony Danza’s “I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had”

Where to get it

I listened to the Audible edition read by the author. It’s just shy of 7 hours long. The print edition is apparently 272 pages.

The very brief review

4.5 stars. Good narration, good story. Fun to listen to The Boss. Made me think. You should read it or have it read to you.

The brief review

This was a well-read, interesting story of Tony Danza’s year as a 10th Grade English teacher. The reading was good, and the stories were good (I use the plural because of the many small, heartfelt tales he related from the school year). I recommend it to teachers as a way to reconnect with why we do this work, and for the general population as a way to understand the heavy burden teachers place on themselves.

As an Ontario teacher, it was interesting to note the many similarities in the Philadelphia school system; it was startling to note some of the more dramatic differences.

As a teacher who is about to return to the classroom after 6 years in central roles, I empathized with Mr. Danza. It’s not so much that I’ll be a first-year teacher again, but more that I remember struggling with many of the same challenges and that I know I’ll be facing those again full time. After all, life at the board office is a little removed from the realities of the daily work of the classroom.

I do have a few “complaints” about the book, but let me say up front that these criticisms are hardly fair. Tony Danza reads his book very well, and relating the actual events of a year of high school won’t likely fit nicely into three-act format or anything.

When reading the book, Mr. Danza doesn’t use “other voices” for other characters to any great extent. I’m used to listening to narrators who have a distinct voice for each character in the story. I realize that it’s really difficult, and that it’s a small point in an otherwise very good narration.

Second, the book doesn’t feel like it’s flowing well about halfway through. There isn’t a nice, tidy plot arc the way I’m used to from reading fiction. As mentioned, that’s more about the way the year progressed than anything, probably, but there is also less material in the second half of the year for Mr. Danza to refer to (read the book and see why). In spite of that pacing issue I still cried a little towards the end.

Read it

And that is all.

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