Risking It All: My Student, My Lover, My Story


228 pages
ISBN 1-55054-980-4
DDC 364.15'554'0971131





Reviewed by Pauline Carey

Pauline Carey is an actor, playwright, and fiction writer. She is the
author of Magic and What’s in a Name?


Heather Ingram was a 30-year-old math instructor in a British Columbia
high school and a talented teacher of alternate students when she began
a three-year affair with a student five months before he turned 18.
Reaction to her conviction as a sex offender (she was sentenced to 10
months of house arrest) was mixed. Some former students continued to
greet her with affection, and there were even parents who sought her out
as a private tutor. But not everyone rallied around. As one former
student said, “You screwed up, Ms I.”

Ingram, who claims she was ignorant of the law when the affair started,
lost her right to teach in schools. Today, she works as an office
administrator, lending a sympathetic ear to her former alternate
students, now in their 20s. Listening, she has found, can be a form of
teaching. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Ingram’s story is
that her actions deprived her students of a good teacher. The chapter
titles provide an overview of that story: “Loneliness,” “Crossing
the Line,” “Happy Together,” “Fugitive, Isolation,” and
“Rehabilitation.” We learn about Ingram’s emotional swings through
an unhappy childhood, her oppressive long-term relationship with a
critical boyfriend, her euphoria at finding what she felt was true love,
and her despair when things began to go wrong.

Guaranteed to provoke argument, Risking It All would be a good choice
for a book club.


Ingram, Heather E., “Risking It All: My Student, My Lover, My Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17392.