Book Review, Standing on Principal by Frank Vetro

By MILT GROSS | Aug 31, 2014
Photo by: Milt Gross Standing on Principal is a gripping story but written poorly.

“Publish books for free” states self-publisher Lulu.com on its home page, then goes on to tell the writer how much they will charge for different aspects of publishing it. I mention this first, because the tragedy of Standing on Principal is that it is a gripping story with terrible writing and editing.

The book is not on a list of Lulu.com’s books on their website, but it is $16.19 paperback and $32.36 hardback on Amazon.com’s.

It’s too bad that the author, Frank Vetro, didn’t hire a professional writer to tell his true dramatic story. It might have sold to a traditional publisher, even though selling to a traditional publisher is becoming harder as time passes. Well-written and professionally published, it would have been an excellent book.

The story is that Vetro was a school principal on Long Island, NY, but he lost his position when he was arrested, jailed, had a failed day in court, and tried to clear his name so he could continue his career in education. His name was not cleared, apparently due to an inept, somewhat corrupt justice system, according to Vetro.

At first it was not clear why he was arrested, but it turned out to be accusations of sexual harassment of which he claims innocence.

The story shows how wrong America’s justice system can go. The book’s writing also shows how poor writing and lack of editing can ruin a book.

Crudeness of the writing can be seen as early as page nine, where he writes (for publication), “I refused to fall for their shit though.” That “s” word is sprinkled far too often through the story. On page 159, he wrote, “I was up all night reflecting on how I was railroaded. On March 26, 2008, six of the eight misdemeanors would be dismissed. Included in those six counts was the alleged order of protection violation that was separate, not even a part of the trial, and, I might add, total bullshit.”

The writer was not clear on the actual charges, and it took me awhile to figure them out as the story unfolded.

Another example of fairly constant crudeness appears on page 157, “I hopefully didn’t fuck myself over and get Hampton Boys pissed.”

The outcome of the justice system on Vetro is not clear except that he states he was innocent. One outcome of what happened was clear in that by the end of the book, Vetro had still not been returned to his previous administration position and had excepted a teaching position that was on a much lower scale.

There is enough of what could be considered libel in the book to make me wonder why even a self-publisher would publish it. Lawsuits are common. A good writer and/or editor could have eliminated that problem while still telling the sad story.

I would not recommend Standing on Principal for its writing or literary value, but I do recommend it for its apparently true story of justice gone wrong. The writer was definitely wronged, according to the book.

But he is also definitely not a writer.

I do hope the best for Vetro’s future.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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