Thursday, September 21, 2006

Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

Have you ever really hated someone? Hated someone enough to give him a really big scare, to teach him a lesson he'll never forget? Or maybe even kill him?
Mr. Griffin was the toughest teacher at Del Norte High School in Albuquerque. Everyone hated taking his English classes. He hardly ever gave out A's, and his classes weren't very fun. He made the lives of the students who took his classes miserable. Surely something should be done. Sue McConnell is a student in one of Mr. Griffin's classes. She's one of his better students, and she's still earning B's. Jeff, Mark and Betsy are also students in Mr. Griffin's classes, only they aren't nearly as studious. Mark is repeating Mr. Griffin's class, and he needs the credit in order to graduate, so he can't blow it. It's Mark's idea to kill Mr. Griffin. At first, Jeff and Betsy think he's nuts, but eventually they get used to the idea. They decide to disguise themselves, kidnap him, and give him a good scare. Mark is the ringleader, and he's got a mean streak. Jeff first noticed it when he set fire to a cat in junior high. They begin to devise their plan and get people involved who wouldn't be likely suspects. Like the senior class President, Dave Ruggles. And Sue McConnell, the brain. Soon Dave is part of the group, then Sue. She'll be the one to lure Mr. Griffin to them. It's perfect, because she's smart, dependable, and not a likely suspect. So the plans are made. Sue lures Mr. Griffin into the hands of the rest of the group. They blindfold him and take him to the mountains. They ask Mr. Griffin to beg to be let go. When he refuses outright, they decide to leave him there and come back later. Jeff is doubtful about leaving Mr. Griffin, but Mark is determined:
"But how long can we keep him here?" "Long enough to crack him. Man, he'll break," Mark said determinedly. "I promise you that. He'll break, and he'll beg, and he'll crawl, just the way we planned, and when he gets back in that classroom he'll be a shell, man, just a shell. He'll look out at that class, and he'll know somewhere out there, scattered around behind those Shakespeare books, there are a bunch of kids who watched him crawl. He'll know they're picturing him here on the ground, begging. Don't you think that's going to do something to him?" (p. 94)
But nobody realized Mr. Griffin's bottle of heart medicine had slipped out of his pocket during the walk.
(BookTalk by Lisa M. Kreutter from NoveList database)

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