Monday, August 22, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

"Only two more things need to be told. One is that Caspian and his men all came safely back to Ramandu's Island. And the three lords woke from their sleep. Caspian married Ramandu's daughter and they all reached Narnia in the end, and she became a great queen and the mother and grandmother of great kings. The other is that back in our own world everyone soon started saying how Eustace had improved, and how "You'd never know him for the same boy," everyone except Aunt Alberta, who said he had become very commonplace and tiresome and it must have been the influence of those Pevensie children." (Published 1952)

I love the classics and plan to alternately share more "CLOSING lines" over the coming months. Comment if you wish, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, or were they really? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

"Lieutenant Berrendo, watching the trail, came riding up, his thin face serious and grave. His submachine gun lay across his saddle in the crook of his left arm. Robert Jordan lay behind the tree, holding onto himself very carefully and delicately to keep his hands steady. He was waiting until the officer reached the sunlit place where the first trees of the pine forest joined the green slope of the meadow. He could feel his heart beating against the pine needle floor of the forest." (Published 1940)

I love the classics and plan to alternately share more "CLOSING lines" over the coming months. Comment if you wish, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, or were they really? 


Friday, June 24, 2016

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos: Book Review

The Scar Boys
Author: Len Vlahos
Publisher: Egmont USA, 2014  
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age: 14 to 17, Young Adult
Pages: 237

Len Vlahos captures the angst of a shy teen boy who is isolated from his peers because of his ugly appearance. Set in the 1980s, Harry tells his story with a measure of humor and witty sarcasm. Harry feels like a “monster,” but truth be told, if appearances count, he is, at least physically. Bullied at age eight by classmates and tied to a tree in a thunderstorm, lightning strikes the tree, leaving Harry with hideous facial scars. Harry endures years of physical pain and emotional damage, but learns to cope with the help of a psychiatrist. 

Friendless for the most part in school, Harry is surprised one day when Johnny, one of the popular kids, befriends him. Life takes a dramatic turn. Harry discovers a vast love of guitar music and finds acceptance among his peers. Together he and Johnny form a rock band called the "Scar Boys." Life in the band is great at first, until the summer of high school graduation, when the band goes on tour. Harry is shocked to learn that Johnny plans to quit the band in college. Devastated, Harry could care less about college. Guitar and the "Scar Boys" have become his life--and identity. 

Harry’s world topples. Adding to complications, he has fallen in love with band member, Chey, who doesn’t seem to mind his scars. Problem is, she has fallen in love with Johnny and Harry is jealous. In a flare up, Johnny abandons the tour midway. Driving home, he's involved in an accident and permanently loses a leg. For the first time, it is Johnny who feels like the “monster.” He even pushes Chey away, to spare her the agony of seeing him permanently disabled. Harry, who has long been on the receiving end of the friendship, swallows his pride and reaches out to Johnny. He convinces him he was wrong about Chey, and possibly about the band. Music can heal him too and so the friendship matures.  

Written as Harry's college admissions essay initially, Vlahos digs deep into the hearts of these teens, sharing a story partly based on personal experience. Chapter titles are songs from the 1980's period.