HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Santander: Rambling on Borrowed Time
Author: David Ellison
Publisher: Independently published, 2020
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Adults
Rating: *** 3 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Ellison, David. Santander: Rambling on Borrowed Time (Published independently in 2020). During his thirty-six-year career, author David Ellison was a teacher, mentor teacher, school administrator, education columnist, and community activist. He worked in schools foreign and domestic, public and private, grades four through college. His treks through five continents included volunteering in far-flung villages, and surviving harrowing adventures. He served as the New Haven Unified and the American Council of School Administrators Region VI Teacher of the Year in 1996. Now retired, Ellison reads, writes, hikes, kayaks, cares for abandoned dogs, and teaches children English in Ajijic, Mexico. And he continues to travel.
Santander is a book of autobiographical essays, some taken from Ellison’s education column. His “ramblings,” like Caesar’s Gaul, are divided into three parts—life, schools, and the world. Occasionally, the “d” and “h” words are found and the term “God” is used as an exclamation; the phrases “God d*** it” and “s. o. b.” each occurs once. There is also one instance described where the author becomes drunk on beer. Not everyone will agree with all his views on politics or his interpretations of history, but the issues that he raises in these areas are important points to consider and discuss.
Some potential readers might like to know that Ellison describes himself as “a former Catholic, now openly gay teacher/traveler.” Concerning his belief system, he makes statements like, “Were I still religious,” but he also told me, “Even so, as with the story of my friend, Lori, I respect faith.” He does occasionally mention his homosexuality at times in these essays, such as the one on “Rainbow Lining” and a few others that involved his coming out of the closet and wearing his Rainbow Pride bracelet to class, but it is certainly not the main focus of the book. Ellison’s observations about education, based on his experiences as a teacher, are especially interesting and enlightening.