Top critical review
Not an alternative lesson for math haters.
Reviewed in the United States on June 11, 2018
I bought this as an adult, for myself. I know, I know. The thing is, I've decided to pursue a degree and I have to take an accuplacer test. I'd really (really) like to test-out of lower-level math, but it's a struggle since, you know, it's been like 20 years since I divided fractions, solved for x, measured quadrilaterals, or found a square root. Also, I hate math. Always have. Still do, it would seem. It seemed like a good idea to start with basics, so I bought this and a handful of other books so I might have a fighting chance.
Did I mention I hate math? It has always been (and continues to be) the thing with which I struggle most, academically speaking. I find that there aren't really decent resources for people like me, with minds like mine. It's written about by people who "get it", and to them it's so simple that they in turn expect you to just "get it". This book is really no exception. It's more colorful, but it's written with that same hard-and-fast "simple rules to remember" format as math textbooks 20 years ago. Nothing is in plain (enough) language, and very little time is taken to help those of us who can never seem to just "go through the motions" understand the WHY of math. For me, this is the hardest thing. Okay, you flip the fraction. But why? How does it work? Because this goes unsatisfied, I feel like I don't get it, and out of my mind it goes. Lots of folks are this way. I need to see how it works, and then I get that "ah ha!" feeling and it just sticks.
I hoped this book would do that. I hoped it was "Math for people who hate math", but for me, it wasn't. I found the examples to be redundant where they weren't radical, the language to be tricky, and the pace to be too fast, leaving me frequently turning to the internet for supplemental videos.
While it also isn't perfect, I do prefer the Princeton Review's Math Smart book, but the youtube channel Math Antics did more for me than either of these prints combined.
That isn't to say the book isn't without its merit. Only that it's not alternative, at least not in my opinion. It feels like an updated textbook, like what you'd hope elementary and middle schools would provide. But for me, it didn't close any gaps, nor did it make easier those things with which I seem to have such difficulty.
So all in all, if you or your student have a knack for math, this book will accelerate and supplement and is in a lively enough format as to likely not collect dust. But if you're like me and were hoping for something that would offer an alternative approach to understanding math, I can't recommend it.