February 22nd, 2018

Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Weekly Book Review

Feast or famine, it appears.  I can go for weeks of months without writing or posting a review, or I can get on a run and create and post multiple reviews within a few days of each other.  As I've mentioned recently, I have, of late been reading a few of the "classics."  Even though a review will not help or hinder sales, I enjoy the mental excercise of trying to provide a brief snapshot of what the story is about and offering my opinion of the work.  So here's the first of the last two reviews I've created.

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney
         His parents having passed on, young David Balfour returns took his ancestral home near Edinburgh to claim his fortune.  His uncle, currently in control of the family fortune has other ideas, and has David abducted and sold into servitude in the Americas.  The vessel in which he is imprisoned and transported wrecks on Scotland's rugged northern shore.
         David is assisted on his journey through the Scottish Highlands by Alan Breck Stuart, rescued at sea prior to the shipwreck.  He is a Jacobite, an outlaw in English ruled Scotland.  It is his contacts and alliances with the Highlanders that allow the two to proceed on their trek.
         This is a typical adventure story as written in the nineteenth century.  Despite the obstacles faced, they is an underlying feeling that all will work out in the end.  This reviewer has been aware of the story since an early age, possibly via the movie from Walt Disney.  Various images and scenes from the film came to mind while reading, including visualizing David Balfour as portrayed by James Macarthur. (He might be better remembered as Danno on the original Hawaii Five-Oh.)  Despite some of the old-fashioned writing practices, the story becomes compelling and hard to put down.  Upon reaching the end, the satisfaction of reading another all-time classic becomes apparent.  It should be on everyone's reading list.

Sorry I don't have a cover image to go along with this.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Another "Weekly" Book Review

With the frequency I've been posting reviews as of late, maybe I should start calling this the "Daily" Book Review.  Of course, once I do, something would happen and I would not post for several months.  I'll just leave it as is for the time being.  Hopefully I'll maintain a pace in which I get something up every week, or at least every couple of weeks.  (I'm thinking to start posting something each week from the Spokane Authors and Self-Publisher reviews... whether I've reviewed that particular book or not.)

Anyway, here is my take on another classic tale:
The Prince and the Pauper

By Mark Twain

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         In 16th century London it comes to pass that a young boy from the slums is identical in appearance to Edward, the Prince of Wales.  By chance they meet, notice the uncanny similarity, and with typical boyish enthusiasm decide to switch places for a brief time.  Once they do, neither can convince others they are not who they are believed to be.
         The royal youth, now King Edward VI, finds himself wandering the countryside with a band of robbers and other neer-do-wells.  Tom, the poor boy from Offal court is treated with respect and honor as the King of England.  It takes the intervention of an adventurer returning to England and a confrontation during what should be the King's coronation to restore the two to their rightful places.
         While this reviewer read this classic tale only recently, it was familiar to him.  He had watched it on The Wonderful World of Disney as a boy roughly the same age as the two primary characters.  Revisiting the tale via the printed page rekindled half-buried memories of what had once been seen on the small screen.
         The story itself is exciting and progresses smoothly.  The only stumbling block noticed was the author's attempt to duplicate spoken 16th century English when characters were speaking.  It was often necessary to re-read certain quotes to determine the meaning or to make an educated guess as to what was said.  While it would have been unauthentic to have the characters speak in modern (19th century) vernacular, something less than full 16th century speech would have been appropriate and appreciated.
         The Prince and the Pauper is an old fashioned fairy tale with a touch of history woven in.  It's definitely worth the time needed to read it.

Something about revisiting old classic stories and also dredging up memories of TV shows from my child hood.