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Saturday, an Excerpt

Posted: 2006-08-26

I listen to books while making my daily trek to the post office two miles away. Often they are good enough that I end up buying the book so I can mull over passages. This is what happened to Ian McEwan's Saturday, described as a cerebral novel about an ominous day seen through the eyes of Henry Perowne, a reflective neurosurgeon. I don't know about cerebral or ominous. I say it's a very good listen and a very good read. As McEwan remarks, ?When anything can happen, everything matters.? Lines like that resonate with me. That's what's important about the classroom: everything matters.

This is not a book about education except in the grand sense that life's fragility is about education. In the passage below, the hero is thinking about how very different his two chldren are. It got to me thinking about the craziness of schools insisting that One Size Must Fit All. Or else.

It's a commonplace of parenting and modern genetics that parents have little or no influence on the characters of their children. You never know who you are going to get. Opportunities, health, prospects, accent, table manners--these might lie within your power to shape. But what really determines the sort of person who's coming to live with you is which sperm finds which egg, how the cards in two packs are chose, then how they are shuffled, halved and spliced at the moment of recombination. Cheerful or neurotic, kind or greedy, curious or dull, expansive or shy and anywhere in between; it can be quite an affront to parental self-regard, just how much of the work has already been done. On the other hand, it can let you off the hook. the point is made for you as soon as you have more than one child; two entirely different people emerge from their roughly similar chances in life.



from Saturday by Ian McEwan.

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