Ms. Hempel Chronicles

Ms. Hempel Chronicles (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Ms. Hempel is a woman on the verge - of an epiphany, a break-up, a parent-teacher conference. Twenty-nine years old and engaged to be married, her feet are firmly planted in the world of adults. Yet the lives of her seventh grade students have a strange hold on her. They are beautiful through her eyes - full of the awkward intensity that time has yet to smooth away. But their vulnerability, from their tumultuous inner worlds and the dangers that lurk about them, frightens her, and reminds her of her own adolescence - an infatuation with punk rock, her mother's "chinese-ness," the death of her dad, a mysterious telephone caller. Funny, honest, true-to-life yet full of surprises, Ms. Hempel Chronicles bravely considers a possibility few are willing to face: does seventh grade ever really end? -- Colin Waters


Ms. Beatrice Hempel, teacher of seventh grade, is new—new to teaching, new to the school, newly engaged, and newly bereft of her idiosyncratic father. Grappling awkwardly with her newness, she struggles to figure out what is expected of her in life and at work. Is it acceptable to introduce swear words into the English curriculum, enlist students to write their own report cards, or bring up personal experiences while teaching a sex-education class? Sarah Shun-lien Bynum finds characters at their most vulnerable, then explores those precarious moments in sharp, graceful prose. From this most innovative of young writers comes another journey down the rabbit hole to the wonderland of middle school, memory, daydreaming, and the extraordinary business of growing up.

About the Author

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's fiction has appeared in the Georgia Review and Alaska Quarterly Review. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York. Madeleine Is Sleeping is her first novel.

Praise for Ms. Hempel Chronicles…

PRAISE FOR MADELEINE IS SLEEPING "A hallucinogenic fairy tale that veers between the clinical clarity of hard fact and a surreal mysticism . . . Bynum's lush, poetic imagery is full of vivid, sensuous details one can almost smell, taste, and feel."—The Boston Globe

"...a narrative voice as unique and engaging as that in her award-winning debut. The attention to detail is spectacular."

Product Details ISBN-10: 0547247753
ISBN-13: 9780547247755
Published: Mariner Books, 09/01/2009
Pages: 208
Language: English