I am troubled by the memory of a student I never had the chance to teach. He came to school the first day with a knife in his pocket, got caught, and was immediately expelled. Suppose he never got caught?
Devon Sparks, a thirteen-year-old black kid, arrives at Central Middle School with a knife in his pocket. He is assigned to Mrs. Dana Sims, the devil in the guise of a sixth-grade teacher. Her first lesson? Give him a rope to tie up his pants so his crack won’t show.
The background scenery includes middle school antics, a chicken manure science project, a church revival, a sixth-grade atheist, learning to live with integration, a tornado drill, and two baptisms, one with water, the other with fire. From the first page, the reader is on a hilarious, deadly trip with one foot in Alabama and the other in hell.