Some are called to serve in schools. Some are called to write.——Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize winning author
Stephen Davenport’s novel, “Saving Miss Oliver’s”, which was published in 2006, is the story of an all-girls secondary boarding school in Connecticut, which has fallen on hard times financially. The story takes place in the early 1990’s and begins when the beloved headmistress of the school has been forced out by the board of directors. A new head of school – a man – is brought in to replace her and to try to keep the school open by increasing both the enrollment and the endowment. Fred Kindler has his work cut out for him as he is not well accepted by much of the staff, the students, and the alumnae, who are still mourning the dismissal of Marjorie Boyd.
The story – taking place over a school year – is told by several teachers, students, and administrators. Davenport writes almost always in the present-tense, which usually I don’t like, but it works extremely well here. ALL the characters are well-drawn and none are stereotypes of rich prep school milieu. I just discovered this book more than three years after it’s publishing and am very glad I did. It’s a great, and original, read!
The fate of the beloved school is hanging in the balance. . .
“From the very first paragraphs, Saving Miss Oliver’s is an engaging read and is very highly recommended to all general fiction readers.”
—Midwest Book Review
“There are moments here that indicate that Davenport, who, as his bio notes, ‘had a long career in education,’ was probably an excellent teacher, like a scene in which Francis explicates a Robert Frost poem with his class, and there are some wonderful students, like the head of the school newspaper who is conducting research about the sex lives of students. . . A book for anyone who’s wondered about the inner workings and worries of a school administration.”