Losing My Faculties
A Teacher's Story
By Brendan Halpin
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812969511, 256pp.)
Publication Date: August 10, 2004
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I am just one of those rare and probably defective people who really enjoy the company of teenagers.
Brendan Halpin’s It Takes a Worried Man—a memoir of how he and his family dealt with his wife’s battle against breast cancer—was praised for its can-dor, raw humor, and riveting voice. Halpin now turns his unique talent to an unforgettable account of the pursuit of his true calling: teaching.
Losing My Faculties follows Halpin through teaching jobs in an economically depressed white ethnic town, a middle-class suburb, a last-chance truancy prevention program in the inner city, and an ambitious college-prep urban charter school. In the same cuttingly observant voice that marked It Takes a Worried Man, Halpin tells us what it really means to be a teacher—the ups and downs in the classroom, the battles with administrators and colleagues, and the joy of doing a job that matters. Not the tale of a hero who changes his troubled students’ lives in one year, Losing My Faculties is, rather, the story of an all-too-fallible teacher who persists in spite of the frustrations that have driven so many others from the profession. After nine years of teaching, Halpin ﬁnds his idealism in shreds but his sense of humor and love for his work blessedly intact.
Brendan Halpin, a thirty-four-year-old high school English teacher, is the author of the acclaimed memoir It Takes a Worried Man. He lives in Boston with his wife, Kirsten, and their daughter, Rowen.
“Comic, profane, honest and thought-provoking...an irreverent, heartbreaking, dumbfoundingly funny book about love, fear and perseverance.”
—The Arizona Republic
“Traumatic, touching and shockingly funny... Bottom line: Man at his best.” —People
“Raw, undisciplined, and frequently very funny.”—Boston Sunday Globe
“If it takes a worried man to write a book like this, then Mr. Halpin’s disquietude is our decided gain. With admirable vigilance against self-pity, the unflagging knowledge that he is not, at the end of the day, the one who is sick, and the comical contortions of a man trying to avoid the maudlin and trite, Brendan Halpin has written a work that is both genuinely moving and frequently—surprisingly frequently—hilarious, a beautiful portrait of the dark, unlovely rollick of adulthood.”
—David Rakoff, author of Fraud