#CBR7 Review #37: The History Boys by Alan Bennett

I’ve heard about The History Boys as a film, and I *believe* the film is on Netflix. The Chancellor saw it and liked it pretty well. So when I realized it had been a play first (thanks to my National Theatre sampler) and that it starred Dominic Cooper (I really, really like him as an actor), I decided that it was time to read it and see if it would be something I could add to my burgeoning teaching syllabus.

The History Boys takes places in a grammar school of mediocre reputation. The boys are unruly but communal, eager to be inspired. The professors include Hector, an irascible and unconventional but beloved English teacher, whose own proclivities may endanger his future at the school, and Irwin, the young history teacher questioning the methods by which the boys are preparing for their futures through their education.

The play was just okay for me. I was really excited about it, but I found the wandering plot and goofs of the boys a bit patience-taxing on me. Plus, if you’ve read my CBR reviews, you know that slightly or more-than-slightly inappropriate teacher-student relationships make me all squicky. I blame the Mary Kay Letourneau case happening when I was in grade school for forever ruining teacher fantasies for me.

I also feel like the aspects of sexuality were the most interesting parts of the play and would probably be more interesting on screen than on a page. That’s the problem of *reading* a play, though, isn’t it? You really are meant to view it. So I think I’ll give the movie a shot. Maybe I’ll like it better.


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