Told with elements of heartrending pathos, nerve-wracking tension, and scenes of disarming humor, The Mean is a riveting novel of school days that looks at the nature of true learning, the best and worst in public education, the drama of human relationships, and the threat of violence that has become such an integral part of our lives.
With a supply of sarin nerve gas as well as explosives and automatic weapons, members of a radical group who believe they have been betrayed by a high-level Middle East negotiator decide to seek revenge by attacking a Long Island high school attended by the negotiator’s daughters.
It is against the horrific shadow of this approaching attack, that The Mean reveals the inner conflicts of Central High School through the humorous, sometimes sardonic viewpoint of the school’s assistant principal Brian Scarlucci as he deals with daily school issues like an angry student leaving fecal deposits around the school and a Mafia captain who tries to pay Scarlucci a huge amount of cash to make up for the crime figure son’s bad school behavior.
Scarlucci must also come to the defense of his best friend, a black English teacher named Ken Valentine, who is being brought to task for teaching meditation in his classroom while students listen to a recorded soundtrack of sacred Tibetan gongs on iPads because Valentine believes the tones can open their minds to the true learning of the Golden Mean. Unfortunately, before discipline can be taken, one of Mr. Valentine’s female students commits suicide while listening to the meditation tape, and Scarlucci must summon all his skills to defend Valentine against what he knows are false charges.
It is in the midst of all these school-day conflicts and more that Scarlucci is suddenly confronted by an unimaginable horror as the terrorists arrive, capable of bringing death to all those in Central High on the meanest day of all.
John Arthur Long While spending a full, rewarding career teaching English, Creative Writing, and assorted Drama courses on the high school level in public education, Mr. Long has also pursued a professional writing career that has resulted in several successfully published novels. His first novel, The Sign of the Guardian was published in two separate editions and optioned twice for motion picture production for which Mr. Long co-authored the screenplay. Eve Of Regression, Long’s second novel about the search for the grave of the first woman in an African safari adventure, has been translated into several different languages, distributed worldwide as a bestseller and was recently re-issued as a Kindle book titled The Gates of Eden. Mr. Long also authored The Harvard Man, a hard-hitting crime novel about a rejected applicant who becomes obsessed with destroying the esteemed Ivy League university. Long’s most recent publication, The Mean, is a contemporary novel that looks at the nature of true learning, the best and worst in public education, the drama of human relationships, and the threat of violence that has recently become such an integral part of our lives. Mr. Long also performed as the narrator for the audio book edition of The Mean.
John Arthur Long has also been active as both a writer and a director in theater for his entire professional career. On the academic side of his career, as an acknowledgement of his dedication to public education, Mr. Long was honored by having the high school where he was employed name a wing of the school entitled “John Long Alley” as a thank you for his years of service. On the professional theatrical level, an example of Long’s acting skills can be found on YouTube in a parody echoing the Atticus speech to the jury in To Kill A Mockingbird that has Long impersonating an aging Atticus Finch responding to the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman. Mr. Long also recently received a Best Director nomination for the Chain Theatre’s Off-Broadway revival production of Wait Until Dark. Long is the co-author and audio narrator of a children’s book, The Tooth Fairy Legend, a perennial seller which was based on his original family theatrical musical for which he co-wrote the book and music and that Liz Smith called “delicious,” in her column about its New York premiere, which Long also directed. Mr. Long’s most recent theatrical creation, which he co-authored, is Dragula The Musical, a sensitive yet humorous look at the world of transvestites with the message of tolerance for those who choose to live alternate life styles and Mr. Long authored the project’s book version, DRAGULA The Transvespire, under the pseudonym Dijk Stroka, which is available as a Kindle book