ISBN: 9781617981555, Wild Child Publishing, an e-book edited by Leslie Karen Lutz, authored by Kat Stiles.
Characters/Plot: The plot actually is quite complex with several threads and many questions, some of whose answers are revealed as the story continues. A number of characters are variously interrelated. The story begins when teen-age Emily (Em) is struck and thrown into the air by a drunken driver who stops, determines she still is breathing and leaves. She feels a tremendous heat generating and awakens to find there is no damage. She discovers through the school nurse (Judy) that she has the gift of ‘healing’. Somehow this is associated with a tendency for her hands to perspire heavily so as to be an embarrassment in school. One thread of the plot follows a ‘coming of age’ theme with Angel the leader of the group making her life miserable. Next introduced is her one good friend Roz, whose father has been like a father to her – her father having been sent away by her mother for believing he had acted inappropriately with the child (which may have some substance because we learn later that her mother insists she visit a psychiatrist because of disturbing dreams she has repeatedly.) Emily’s mother Anne is extremely involved in a job that requires odd hours and besides is quite a difficult person with whom to equate. Lauren, her older sister who has problems of her own, is constantly dominant. Tommy, transfers from another school after ‘getting in trouble’, and is attracted to Emily. As the story progresses we further discover that Tommy has unusual sensual (hearing, sight, olfactory) sensitivity and Roz is clairvoyant. The second major thread evolves when their collective powers are brought to bear in searching for a murderer and the tale introduces several more characters. The story’s ending provides an extension of one thread that initiates what may be assumed to be a forthcoming sequel.
Discussion/Conclusion: The author has set forth a thriller/mystery/romance with a touch of the occult that is somewhat unique. More especially it is a book for the teen/pre-teen reader. However, the uniqueness lies in the fact that it has enough of an interesting opening and theme to stimulate to an extent the interest of more mature readers. Admittedly, the later will need to ‘overlook’ the more obviously youth oriented story to follow the interesting tale.
4* Intriguing tale for young readers even the more mature may find interesting.
Nostalgia from: A City Set Upon a Hill
ISBN: 9781514628928 is an e-book by Garfield “Garry” Whyte describing: “Memories of boarding school. It was Seven years…Seven damn good years (1977 – 1984).”
The reader first is presented with a quote from Isabel Waxman: “It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days.” The author’s ‘disclaimer’ follows: “The book was written with the primary purpose of encouraging all Munronians (School graduates) to keep their memories of this great institution alive. It is not intended to be the be-all and end-all about Munro. It is simply my chapter in the history of this great institution.” Historically the school was established in 1856 as a school for poor boys of St. Elizabeth but “evolved into a cauldron in which boys from all backgrounds converged” There were rich, poor, black, white, local and foreigners, as well as those who were motherless or fatherless. Munro College is “Perched 2,560 feet on the peak of the Santa Cruz Mountains in one of the remotest sections of Jamaica and is the oldest all-boys boarding school in the Caribbean with a commanding view of the horizon and the Caribbean Sea…”. Also provided are a description of all aspects of the college – acreage and sports fields, Barbecue (main quadrangle); building descriptions, several with pictures, and their designation, e.g. Chapel, Boarding House, Bus Garage; sustaining employees; and faculty with descriptions of individual idiosyncrasies that contributed to the school’s “..enviable reputation of being one of Jamaica’s most prestigious citadels of learning.” And: “It is the alma mater of several Jamaican icons and dignitaries…” including Jamaican Prime ministers, Rhodes scholars, lawyers, physicians and others. The tale further, as would be expected, is replete with stories of individual boyish antics and their sequelae, and here the author himself perhaps best describes his story: “The pranks; the outlandish vocabulary; the innovative ways of dealing with what could be considered a boring life void of modern-day technologies; the camaraderie; the lack of modern amenities; the fights today and the making-up tomorrow; the acceptance of discipline as a way of life; the making the most of an environment that we had no control over, but following in the path laid out by our predecessors.” This ‘is the stuff that memories are made of.’ There is a glossary at the end of each chapter and again at the end of the book to explain local terms and some of the patois that is used.
Discussion: The author has provided an interesting picture of what most people think of as an island tourist attraction. It is a presentation of Jamaica that few of the many visitors to the island even know existed. It is a memoir written by a man who obviously retains great love for his home and his alma mater. A well-educated person who knowingly has provided a rambling narrative setting forth enjoyable thoughts as they arose with a main intention of providing himself and others poignant and other remembrances ‘of another time, another place’. Thus, my only criticism, per se is the redundancy of the glossaries.
Summary: Perhaps the best summary of this book and this review is to use the author’s own provision of the most charming quote from Mary Lou Retton. “A trophy caries dust. Memories last forever.”
3* 5* memoir for target group; 3* for general readership.