Book Review:
Middle Schooled - Parenting Tips and Reminders to Keep You Smiling by Andy Mullen

The Hook

Big hair, mullets, leg warmers, Pac Man… if any of these sounded familiar, you may have lived during the 1980’s.  If you had any of these, you probably lived through the 80’s.  If you know who shot J.R., then you definitely lived in the 80’s and you will for sure enjoy this book.

The Author

Andy Mullen, a school counselor by profession, provides tips and reminders that truly keep you smiling (as the title suggests) throughout the book.  Middle Schooled is cleverly written, humorous and yes, on many occasion, had me smiling.  The book is a hybrid of an autobiography and non-fiction.  The author compiled years of personal experience of raising his own children but mostly from his experience as a school counselor. 

The Book

Andy cleverly divides the book into months rather than typical chapters.  There are ten chapters starting with September and ending with June.  Even more clever, Andy was purposeful in selecting stories for each month.  For example, Andy discusses handling the holiday stresses in December.

Each chapter is broken into small stories.  Each story is given a topic.  For example, in September, there are six different stories about different topics.  Such topics include Family Time, Lying and Back to School.  Some of my personal favorites were Moderation, Are You Normal, Outburst, Sibling Rivalry, and Chicken.

The stories are short, around 3 pages or so with each page full of good information that is uplifting and yes, does put a smile on your face.  And if you haven’t had one of those lately, a smile that is, this is a must read for you.  The book is 161 pages in total. 

The cover design is simple yet, eye catching and colorful – a typical white lined sheet of paper with middle school images in the form of doodling and sketches of pens, pencils, soccer ball, and textbooks.


Two Thumbs Up

Middle Schooled was very appealing to me because the central theme of the book is based on family vales, which is the premise of  The book was designed either to be read a little at a time or in one sitting.  I recommend not reading it all in one sitting.  I suggest reading it on a need to know basis.  For example, need ideas about mood swings, then quickly grab the book from a convenient location, turn to March, and get a quick briefing. 

I truly enjoyed Middle Schooled by Andy Mullen.  In fact, Middle Schooled gave me the perspective I needed to develop a peace treaty to a long standing battle between my son and I over his involvement in orchestra.  Through reading this book, I realized it was time for me to let go and provide him the space to make his own choices. 

Middle Schooled can be your quick source to parenting tips and information written in a funny manner that will put a smile on your face.  The author even recommends reading the book at night after a glass of wine but if need be, a quick read in the car while waiting for soccer practice to end can be just what you need to survive the car ride home while listening to Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash. 


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