Risking It All: My Student, My Lover, My Story

by Heather E. Ingram
ISBN: 1550549804

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A Review of: Risking It All
by Gordon Phinn

The ineluctable glamour of scandal seems to be why the brisk trade in confessional memoir continues unabated. For some reason, which may one day be unveiled by psychiatry, militant feminism, or aliens with a kinder, gentler agenda, the female of the species is especially keen on kissing and telling. Transgression, it would seem, remains ever so tempting, the season of indulgence it generates quite irresistible, while the lure of hard won redemption vies with public acclaim for the big prize. While guys, when not boozily unemployed or dreaming of fly-fishing, seem keener on the debilitating effects of war on the testosterone charged psyche and the paranoid phallocentric cultures it upholds, gals still much prefer to gore that virgin/madonna ideal with the kind of carefree sluttishness previously the preserve of the indolent rich. It sure looks like brazenness has supplanted modesty in the panoply of desirable attributes. And apparently discretion, decorum and restraint have been a cheesy sham all along. Carefree, immediate indulging of desire is definitely what the doctor ordered. Perhaps even stuffed shirts will soon be in short supply.
If the current deluge of mediocre fiction shows us how to sport our skeptical umbrellas even on sky blue sunny days, then the relentless barrage of memoirs reminds us that souls with an overwhelming urge to put their searing stories on paper are not necessarily artists with even the dimmest of visions. Witness Heather Ingram, a high school teacher in small town B.C., seething with impotent rage at a society that dare place her under house arrest for sexual improprieties with a minor under her scholastic jurisdiction. Jeez, she coulda lied and gotten away with it! Heck, he was nearly eighteen and had his own car! And boy did he have a nice set of buns! And let's not forget, she's a paragon of virtue compared to that Mary Kay Letourneau, who had two babies with a thirteen year old, not to mention all those scummy men teachers laying siege to innocent girls.
The relentless tackiness of the whole enterprise wearies even the casual reader. Twenty pages after "We kiss, and I think my heart will break with longing" she's pouring herself into a one night stand with the love of her life's best buddy, also verging on jail bait. Her assessment: "I will use this night as a piece of the puzzle in finding myself." And on it goes, psychic damage magnified by deafeningly poor prose. Ingram is not the first woman to carry her mewling inner child into the wretched complexities of adult society, and of course she will not be the last, but her insistence upon the oh-poor-me syndrome, with its recipe book of tawdry arias from the soap opera repertoire effectively insulate her very high school drama from the serious consideration afforded the more thoughtful entries in the field, such as Jane Juska's A Round Heeled Woman and Catherine Millet's The Sexual Life Of Catherine M.

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