L'Appello (The Register)
Ten years after the outstanding success of White As Milk, Red As Blood, D’Avenia returns to write about school as a unique experience where we grow, confront our own limits and become the people we wish to be.
Omero Romeo, a 45-year-old science teacher always wearing sunglasses, is called to be a supply teacher to a class preparing for their final exams. It is a very difficult class where many students have behavioural issues, causing previous teachers to leave. The challenge is even more difficult for Omero, who is blind. But before long, the children realise their new teacher is interested in them, and not only in their education. Omero wants to know who they are and why each of them is indispensable to the world, like the elements of a periodic table.
He puts into place a new way of calling the register, inviting the students to share something about themselves. There is a girl who has lost her father and doesn’t know how to process the bereavement; another who wants to save the world and another who no longer wishes to be there; a pupil who hides an eating disorder behind a forced state of happiness. There is a talented trap singer who lives in a foster home, a boy who goes off the rails following the separation of his parents, a computer geek who will only con-tact his friends from behind a screen and a violent teenager who takes part in secret boxing matches to earn money. For the first time they are all truly seen.
The ten teenagers begin to talk about themselves, about the search for their own voice and their own truth, experiencing a journey of genuine growth, far greater than a State exam could ever certify. But miracles always have a price.