Learn Me Gooder - By John Pearson


When I first published Learn Me Good, I had no idea how successful it would be. Sure, in my daydreams, it would become an international bestseller, I’d receive multiple invitations to appear on Oprah’s show, and every house would have 2 copies (one for each bathroom). Realistically, though, I figured most of my friends and family would feel obligated to buy a copy, and anything beyond that would be gravy.

Instead, I was shocked – pleasantly so, not hit with a taser – at how many people genuinely embraced Learn Me Good, recommended it to friends and colleagues, and even clamored for a sequel. Many of these readers discovered LMG through the rise of e-readers, most notably the Kindle, to which I may owe my first-born child.

I actually started working on this sequel, Learn Me Gooder, back in 2006, right after LMG came out. I worked on it a little bit here, a little bit there, yet something always sidetracked me. School, television, then a girlfriend who became a fiancée who turned into a wife.

Finally, I buckled down and got serious in August of 2010. I figured if the world really IS going to end in 2012, and that Mayan prophecy isn’t just some time-traveler’s idea of a practical joke, I ought to have at least one more grammatically incorrect title out and available.

While I’m on the subject of the title, I knew pretty early on that I was going to go with Learn Me Gooder. Still, that didn’t stop me from considering a few Hollywood-inspired sequel subtitles. Here’s a small sampling of the list I came up with:

Learn Me Good 2: Academic Boogaloo

Learn Me Good 2: Marvin’s Revenge

Learn Me Good 2: Learn Harder

Learn Me Good 2: The Temple of Gloom

Learn Me Good 2: A Fistful of Dawdlers

Learn Me Good 2: The Fellowship of the Bling

Learn Me Good 2: The Engineer Strikes Back

Learn Me Good 2: The Math of Khan

In the end, I decided simpler was better, and Learn Me Gooder was my final answer.

Just like the first time around, Learn Me Gooder is mostly based on real experiences, but they have been embellished, fictionalized, and condensed into a single school year. All of the names have once again been changed to protect the innocent, the red-handed, and the apathetic.

Six years have passed since the events of Learn Me Good, and Jack Woodson is still sharing stories and insights through emails with his friend and former colleague Fred Bommerson, who works at Heat Pumps Unlimited, Jack’s old employer. Much like the recurring Death Star, the TAKS, or Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, still looms over Jack’s head.

One more time, I feel the need to stress that this book is a work of fiction. A few of the Amazon reviews for Learn Me Good took ME to task for the acts of Mr. Woodson. One review even began – “Appalling treatment of endangered children!”

I would ask everyone reading this to keep in mind that certain stories have been altered, supplemented, or even completely made up, and that I myself did not actually do every single thing that Jack Woodson does in the book. For instance, on page 98, where Mr. Woodson throws lemon meringue pies at the kids every time they tell him there are 365 days in a week – I never actually did that in my class.

In a similar vein, my wife, upon whom the character “Jill” is based, insisted that I state that there was not nearly so much drama during our actual courtship. Lucky for me.

Finally, I want to send big thanks out to several people. To my family and friends for helping me through this writing process and for being so supportive. To my friend and col-league Michael J. Ruiz for his contribution of the sign-off name used on the October 12 email. To Xavier Rodriguez for the use of his classroom and black board which appear on the cover, to Shawn Fernandez for taking the pictures, and to my nephew Ethan for joining me as a cover model. To Carley Barnes for cover concept ideas, and to Terry Roy for finalizing those cover ideas.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the story!

John Pearson

July, 2011

Date: Monday, August 24, 2009

To: Fred Bommerson

From: Jack Woodson

Subject: Here we go again

Fred! My man!

Long time no talk, buddy! Wait, I talked to you on Saturday, right? But it’s been a long time since I emailed you from my classroom! What’s that you say – I’ve NEVER emailed you from my classroom? That’s because the