Reviews for The Alumni
Nonamenonamenonameplease chapter 8 . 8/26/2012
(Reviewer acknowledges that the story was written and posted some time ago.)

Wayside School. A series of books chronicling the adventures and misadventures of folks populating one of the strangest schools in existence. The focus of these books: a class taught by a woman known as Mrs. Jewls. The school itself was built on its side: 30 stories each containing one classroom (though no 19th story) instead of one story containing 30 classrooms. As a result, it attracts some very off-beat characters and incidents for some reason.

The first book, Sideways Stories From Wayside School, was basic as the first in any series goes. We get a series of one-shot stories per chapter revolving around one character each. The second book, Wayside School Is Falling Down, took things a little bit farther by introducing a new character named Benjamin Nushmutt (yes, that’s what he’s actually named); gave us at least two storylines diffused amongst more one-shots; and ended on a cliffhanger. The final installment in the trilogy, Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger, picked up where the previous book left off; cut back on one-shots; and was composed almost entirely of more-or-less continuous story arcs overshadowed by one main storyline. We also got a couple of math books released between WSIFD and WSGALS, full of difficult yet creative and enjoyable puzzles and whose canonicity amongst the main trilogy is debatable.

I never grew up on these books as a kid; the most attention I ever paid them was the occasional glance across the second book’s front cover page. When Nelvana gave the books their own cartoon series, THAT certainly grabbed my attention. Long story short, I thought little of the cartoon at first and so got off to a bad start with it, but it grew on me over time. Yes, I’ve heard it all before: The cartoon underplays the books. Nevertheless, I still believe the former has much potential that it could release if given a nudge in the right direction. I wouldn’t mind taking over production myself…if only I’d overcome my procrastination and learn how to properly write stories. *sigh*

I knew nothing about the Wayside School books outside of skimming book covers. Eventually I DID find my opportunity to read and review the books. As you may guess, I too found much left out if not wasted by the show. Incorporating classic book elements is just one of the many things I’D do if I were in charge. But, listen to me go on and get boring.

I like where this story has gone so far. Your documentation of our heroes during their high schools and the changes they might experience are very consistent with their individual characterizations and lead to new directions and improvements in their lives. Becoming an office aid certainly sounds like the kind of thing Dameon might take up, for example, given his penchant fer doing Mrs. Jewls various favors around HER classroom. Also, are Terrence and Kathy on their way to redemption respectively courtesy of Rondi and DJ? Sounds about right. Of course, these developments also lead to new problems, but what can one do, huh?

I don’t like status quo, but people will have their static moments now and then. It’s said that the people we take for granted end up becoming the ones we miss the most. None of the ex-Waysiders – least of all Joy – can dare say they DIDN’T miss Todd. Although it has many, you did answer the question of what would happen if Todd suddenly disappeared from their lives. In general, nobody ever really vouched for ‘im or otherwise lifted a finger every time Mrs. Jewls sent ‘im home early for all the dumbest reasons. D.J.’s smile in Ch. 16 of the first book made her forget her “discipline”, though it never tells us Todd’s outcome that day. If D.J. could draw genuine laughter out of Kathy, perhaps he could support Todd? At least in the cartoon. In short, there’s no denying that Todd is the heart of that class. Why Mrs. Jewls and Joy must rip on ‘im so is beyond me.

That also goes for Benjamin. Doesn’t he remember HIS tough experiences as the new kid back in the second book? Someone’s gotten too comfy in Todd’s absence, alright. Methinks due to their tendencies to be estranged from the main crowd that Benjamin and Todd would in fact have more in common than either of them realizes. Hopefully Benjamin will when he reaches the point where his actions get him alienated from the entire school.

Speaking of Joy, it’s funny you should deem her bohemian. I figured Wayside must’ve been some kind of bohemian private school akin to the occasional college if these kids had Mrs. Jewls as their teacher and the same classroom for at least three or four consecutive years (not counting the incident with the cows). Opponents might think of it as some kind of dumping grounds for people who are failures in dominant society. Casual observers might think of it as the kind of place to go when one simply doesn’t fit in anywhere else. I just can’t figure out how long a teacher teaches a class.

Why can’t a girl be pretty without makeup, Dana wonders? That’s a very legitimate question. The show’s visuals are very simplistic, but I wouldn’t call ‘em ugly. It’s more “simple and elegant”. I like the characters’ inherent modesty and naturalism, especially the females. Kids AND adults. Nobody dresses seductively, pierces any part of their bodies (not even their ears), the females don’t wear makeup, they keep their hair nice and long, the males keep THEIR hair nice and short…in summary, they look nice as they are, and they know it. Well, most of ‘em.

“In grade school, little girls aren't allowed to wear make-up.” They shouldn’t be allowed to pierce their ears, either. Which reminds me: tattoos? You know I’m referring to Calvin and his potato tattoo. What kinda parents let their kid get a tattoo of all things fer a birthday gift? *shrug*

Back with Dana. It’s a real shame being called “four eyes” is now an insult instead of a compliment. Then again, Wayside must be the ONLY school that ever used it in a positive context. The books are the first medium I know that did just that. Dana tearing up the note crowning moment of awesome.

Your fic still leaves a lot to be wondered. You brought up the bit about Dr. Pickle hypnotizing Paul into licking Leslie’s ears when she says, “pencil”. (In a whisper, I once read that that’s not how hypnotism actually works. But I don’t care enough to find out fer sure.) There may have been multiple occasions during which she said the word and he may or may not have gone after her ears, left out of the book because of their unimportance. But what of other people and experiences? Wendy Nogard? Mrs. Drazil? The Gorfs? Or…huh. (And can anybody PLEASE tell me how Wendy was able to make the class miserable without them suspecting that something about her must’ve been off?!)

My verdict: a recommended story.
Fizzy Starburst chapter 8 . 6/14/2010
awww...that was cute :) I hope you update this soon :D
Fizzy Starburst chapter 3 . 6/14/2010
LMAO! Yay for Paul and Leslie!
Backroads chapter 8 . 5/25/2010
Oh, but you have no idea just how much fun this is for me! You've really updated all the kids so well and I like the new versions of them. Yet you still have the quirks and problems that made them so... them. And I can see the humor/angst balance here and it's just beautifully done. It's fun, there's this great dry humor, but it's surprisingly emotional.
Backroads chapter 2 . 5/25/2010
Wow, what a blend of emotion. I love your updates and changes to these kids, but my heart kind of broke. Then came back together when you brought dear Todd back. Excellently done, very heartfelt.
Backroads chapter 1 . 5/25/2010
How absolutely depressing, yet right now I'm laughing my head off. I read all three books with my first graders earlier this year. They were such fans, and I very much appreciate this. I'm glad they laid off Ms. Zarves, just in case. Lots of humor in this, very fun.
Number1PixarFan chapter 8 . 8/2/2009
I noticed that this story hasn't been updated in a while. It's really good and I want more! :-)

A few grammar mistakes here and there, but, hey, what can you expect?
Loverly Light chapter 2 . 5/23/2008
Ooh, this looks like a very good story so far. I'll read the later chapters soon...
Luvmusic chapter 1 . 5/10/2008
U should continue the story,i really like it
thisaccounthasbeenemptied chapter 8 . 2/8/2008
Aww! So much DJ and Kathy-ness. I love it! Update soon. :D
thisaccounthasbeenemptied chapter 7 . 1/13/2008
Cool, I can't wait to see what happens next.
thisaccounthasbeenemptied chapter 6 . 12/20/2007
Yay! You updated! It's really great so far, I can't wait until you add more! *rereads*
Izzy Insanity chapter 4 . 12/18/2007
ya do know there is a tv show of this
thisaccounthasbeenemptied chapter 4 . 10/21/2007
I found another Wayside story, yes! After watching the TV series I decided to look for fanfiction on it, and then I found this. It's great! I hope you can add more soon, because you've peaked my interest. I'm adding this to my alert list. :D Please add more!
Dracobolt chapter 4 . 10/14/2007
The first surprise was finding Wayside School fan fiction. The second surprise was finding that this fic was actually good. Reading this made my day. Makes me want to dig those books out again. I like how well you work in all the references. I'll keep an eye out for updates to this.