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Dear Mr.


I am a seventeen year-old high school student from Indianapolis, Indiana. This year I completed your Core 430 American Literature program. Overall, I thought the program showed both the depth and the careful, critical thinking I have come to expect from Sonlight. Of course, I do still have some criticisms. Crazy Lady was ineffably awful; it was the only book that I couldnt bring myself to finish. Possibly the second-worst book of the year was The Outsiders. While it may have been cutting edge in 1967, it hasnt dated well. The core never judge a book by its cover/the kids are alright message has certainly been done better. Additionally, it contained so many weak verbs strengthened by execrable adverbs as to make a hack romance novelist quail. Another book I didnt really get was Bud, Not Buddy. There are worse books, but, overall, it was completely forgettable. I didnt see what distinguished from scores of other young adult novels. I think there are many better choices. The Giver is one of those canonical books that I never really made time to read when I was younger. If everyone is so excited, it cant be that good, right? I was completely blown away by it. The Giver is also one of the books on next years Creative Writing course reading list, so the murdering of multiple avians with limited ammunition was satisfying. My Antonia was another excellent book. It was lyrical, powerful, and nuanced. It was another book that I would never check out from the library based soley on its back cover blurb, so Im grateful that Sonlight forced me to read one of the best, most underappreciated novels Ive ever read. One final suggestion: I enjoyed the broad smattering of poetry that 100 Best-Loved Poems contained, but please consider adding some more. Poetry is fun. I would never be so presumptuous as to suggest certain excellent, readable poets that would be good to add to your program, such as Sylvia Plath or Frank Bidart. Never. Sincerely, Peter Shirley