IT was the book that cost a teacher her job and her marriage.
But Leonora Rustamova, of Salendine Nook, says she has no regrets about writing the controversial novel which ended her teaching career.
Stop Don’t Read This is a fictional story based on Mrs Rustamova’s days teaching at a Calderdale high school.
It contains violence, drug abuse and the odd sexual scene.
And the characters in the book, including the pupils and the teachers, are real people.
Stop Don’t Read This, however, was never meant to leave the walls of Calder High School, Mytholmroyd. The book was born out of frustration and Mrs Rustamova’s determination to teach the unteachable.
The former English teacher, best known as ‘Miss Rusty’, had been given five particularly difficult pupils who refused to read.
In the end she agreed to write a book with characters and storylines chosen by the boys. But the Famous Five it wasn’t, unless the Enid Blyton quintet had grown up on the estate featured in the gritty TV hit series Shameless.
Mrs Rustamova, 41, says: “The Mr Gay UK was a reference to one of the lads who was openly gay. He was always being sent home for wearing dresses.
“You could say I was provocative. There is a reference to a pupil’s sexual fantasy. But the lads were very misogynistic. They would come out with some awful stuff. It was meant as a little dig.”
The book was a success. The boys, who Mrs Rustamova felt had been written off by the educational system, started reading.
She was promoted, her colleagues and parents loved the book and the five lads went onto achieve qualifications. But it all went wrong following an anonymous complaint.
Mrs Rustamova was sacked for allegedly bringing the school into disrepute, undermining its authority and demeaning pupils and parents. Her marriage collapsed and the appeal against her dismissal was rejected, despite considerable support from colleagues, pupils and parents.
She said: “It was a very dark time. It was my daughter’s 14th birthday when the story appeared and I thought she’d have to face abuse at school.”
Now Mrs Rustamova has decided to publish the book that caused the stir.
She said: “If I had kept my job I would never have got the book published.”
But Mrs Rustamova added: “I’ve no regrets. I just wish I had a job. Life throws massive things at you that come out of nowhere... It’s how you respond to these things. I’ve a plan for another book but I’d like to write a book about what I want to write about.”
Stop Don’t Read This (Bluemoose) is available from bookshops and www.bluemoosebooks.com from July 13.