You Deserve Nothing: A Novel - Alexander Maksik UPDATE: November 29, 2011 Turns out this book really was based on the author's transgressions. The Will Silver character is Maksik himself. this new development, I'm going to leave the book without a rating. Here is my original four-star review: Bleak but mighty impressive.Teacher worship. Is there anything more universal or more potentially devastating? At the International School of France, Will Silver is a beloved teacher with two especially worshipful students. One is a female, Marie, who worships him sexually and fantasizes future domestic bliss with him. The other is a male, Gilad, who worships Silver as the pinnacle of intellectual and moral uprightness, and fantasizes about being singled out by his teacher as special. Silver teaches high-minded philosophical principles in his classes, and his teenaged students naively expect him to be the embodiment of those principles. Of course, he's just a man. Sometimes weak, sometimes strong, admirable in some ways and despicable in others. Silver is also very much in need of sexual release, which turns out to be his downfall. Don't act so surprised. That's never happened before, right? Somehow it's more disappointing when Silver falls from grace, because he's not the initiator and he just lets it all happen without so much as a whimper.And after ten years of teaching, is he really naive enough to think that high school students don't spill all to their friends? Which leaves you wondering---does he really care if it all goes down the drain? Is he deliberately self-destructing?There are echoes here of Dead Poets Society and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. A beloved, unconventional teacher gets too chummy with the students and is eventually betrayed by one of them, leaving the rest of the students feeling betrayed by the teacher. Adoration from young people is intoxicating and hard to resist, as is the possibility of shaping young minds and lives. Reading an all-too-believable story like this one just makes me more appreciative of those instructors I had who knew where to draw the line between themselves and their students, and were perhaps less popular for doing so. The title, You Deserve Nothing, sounds bleak, and it is. It alludes to the argument that what you get in life is not necessarily based on merit. The good things we do today do not ensure that we will have good experiences in the future. Good and bad things that happen to us are not always a matter of deserving or having earned them.