My Most Spectacular Failure

My Most Spectacular Failure 1

André da Loba for The Chronicle Review

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André da Loba for The Chronicle Review

"John—he was your first love," my husband said when he heard the grisly news about my former student. And it's true: John was one of a handful of undergraduates who've stood out, during my 15 years of teaching, for their excellent writing, magnetic personalities, or unbelievable survival stories. But unlike the others, whose education propelled them out of the Bronx and into rewarding careers, John was the troubled one no one could rescue from his past, and