Philip Malloy is a typical ninth grader—he wants to join the track team and impress the cute girl in his English class. His grades aren’t the best they could be, but he’s trying to improve both his grades and his running times. As the reader learns in the beginning of the novel though, Philip’s “D” in English will prevent him from even trying out for the track team. Suddenly, things aren’t so great in Philip’s life: his parents are arguing a lot, his dad is pressuring him to practice for track, and he just can’t seem to get along with Ms. Narwin, his English teacher. Philip thinks Ms. Narwin just doesn’t like him and that’s all there is to it. One morning in homeroom, Philip hums along to The Star Spangled Banner and is reprimanded by Ms. Narwin for creating a disturbance in the classroom. These seemingly innocuous events spiral out of control and before he realizes what is happening, Philip is deemed a repressed patriot and Ms. Narwin is a national pariah. The reader must decide who is to blame and what it means to tell the truth.
Summary | Activities | Other Works| Links | Quiz | Rubric | Home