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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Karma Redirected: How Did They Let You Become a Teacher? by Mike Morris is the fictional memoir of Mo Mickus, a middle school teacher who previously had no business being anything of the sort. A favorite grandchild to the woman that first raised him, Mo moved around a lot. Born in Alabama and following up with stints on the West and East Coasts, Morris jumps between past and present as Mo narrates his story in the first person, weaving through a youth full of mischief and honest-to-goodness mental health issues, until he finds God (no, not exactly 'that' one) and comes of age a bit later than most.
Karma Redirected is as honest as fiction can get and Mike Morris can write for laughter just as comfortably as he is able to tug on the heartstrings. I loved the Ugly Duckling story, where Mo recounts building his own efficient but unsightly stock car to race against other kids whose fathers had made theirs. I also liked later when Mo had a girlfriend named Cindy who thought he was really cool, but when Mo lost interest and was too afraid to break up with her, he did everything in his power to be as nerdy as possible. Lastly, while I had a laugh hearing about Mo being introduced to Buddhism by a man with the most Jewish name on the planet, there's no question that the resistance from his family, friends, and even himself were more difficult than maybe they are described. For all its humor, this is a really great story about hardship and the underdog coming out on top. This is a relevant story about 20th-century problems and how children became hardened to deal with them. Really, this is just an all-around great story.