Did you picture a high school U.S. History teacher? Pretty positive you didn’t, but neither did any of her students. Especially not Ryan Piccoli. The above description fits Ms. Lori Settles (in the hallways and locker rooms she’s known as Stilettos Settles) to the letter, and none of her students seem to mind. In a novel told from three different viewpoints, the touchy subject of teacher-student relationships is discussed. It is really Ms. Settles fault that Ryan would do anything for her, becoming the ultimate teacher’s pet? Is Ryan being taken advantage of by a teacher who should have his best interests in mind or is he taking advantage of a teacher who developed a soft spot for a student? These questions and more are raised as the reader is taken on a disturbing journey of unquenchable desire, supposed love, and immoral decisions.
Lurlene McDaniel takes a turn from her typically heart warming novels to bring us prey, a book she admits is written about a topic outside her norm (others agree). As mentioned, prey discusses a topic that has recently garnered more attention: female teachers having sexual relationships with male students. Because of this contemporary topic and the issues it raises, this would be a book that I would recommend to not be taught in schools. I do not see any problems with students reading this book, but for a teacher to use this book in his or her classroom, Pandora’s box would certainly be opened. Imagine a female teacher trying to teach a book about a female teacher having a sexual relationship with a male student…in a classroom that is bound to have male students. For an independent reading book, prey could easily be put on the list under the heading of “contemporary topics,” but I feel that it should not be a required read of any student.
I have read other blogs that have expressed some of the same concerns about this book, and there are also comments about how the book is written. If you have read any other novels by Lurlene McDaniel, you know what a good writer she is, and sadly this book does not always live up to her high standards. Some parts do not feel complete, while others are perfectly crafted. It could be said that because McDaniel chose to step outside her comfort area, the book seemed to struggle, and I would be willing to agree.
Overall, the book is a good read, but don’t go on my word alone…let the author tell you about it herself!