Genre: Realistic Fiction
Mr. Griffin is a harsh, strict literature teacher who is not one to suffer fools, especially a select group of popular kids who think they can do whatever they want. When these students decide they have had enough of Mr. Griffin’s attitude, they devise a plan to humiliate him and teach him a lesson of their own. They recruit Susan McConnell, a lonely outsider, to help them lure Mr. Griffin into their trap. However, when the plan goes horribly wrong, nobody is safe.
Peer Pressure is a major theme in this story as it is what really drives Susan to join up with the others in their plan against Mr. Griffin. They all follow Mark, the leader, without question. Then when tragedy strikes, they all follow each others lead and cover it up completely.
Identity is a theme in here that I found very interesting. An example of this would be Mr. Griffin. At school he is very strict, not very likable, and has zero patience for his students. However, at home he is a loving and attentive husband. Then there is Mark. He seems to be a leader and quite likable but as the story goes on we see the ugly side of him and realize who and what he really is.
We’ve all experienced peer pressure in our lives. Maybe in high school or even in college. It causes us to do things we would not normally do and we always end up regretting it. While hopefully none of us have experienced peer pressure to this extent, we all can at least have a bit of understanding for these people.
I really liked this book. I even watched the made for TV movie based for it. While there were changes it was still good. I have read one or two other works of Lois Duncan and I really like her writing. Her stories are never dull, especially here.
“Parents need to know that this book examines what harm can happen when kids submit to peer pressure. They commit a crime and suffer the consequences. The book builds psychologically and kids will feel increasingly challenged as the action spins out of control. This is a powerful look at the rule of the mob and the importance (and difficulty) of following your own inner sense of right and wrong.”
The people at Commons Media really liked “Killing Mr. Griffin.”