Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

To find more books by your favorite author, click on the author's name in the title...

Also, try searching by "historical fiction" if you're looking for novels at a certain time period...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pool Boy by Michael Simmons

I liked this character-study.

Not because he was a Pollyanna or Heidi-type, but because he was an honest picture of an indulged teen. Who, darn it all, was obnoxiously endearing.

Bret’s father is arrested for insider-trading. Bret’s rich world is more than shaken. In addition to losing all his perks (like a $5,000 stereo for his birthday), he has to get used to a father in jail, the loss of his Beverly-Hills-style home, and adjustment to menial labor.

His new job flipping burgers doesn’t work out so well, but his job cleaning pools, including the one at his old home, works out in ways that he does not expect. The old man that hires him fills in as a mentor and helps teach Bret to get past his rich-boy syndrome.

His pool-boss, Alfie,is a man who, in a typically real-life complication, was not the best of father-figures himself. He deserted his daughter and wife and only showed up intermittently in his daughter’s life, much as he loved her. He counsels Bret to forgive his father, and he makes a profound impact on him in the short time they work together.

Bret is an obnoxious boy. He is a character who is uncomfortably what we could all be like if we grew up like him. In the end, he pieces together some life-lessons that are worth learning via the love of Alfie.

For older tweens, there are no issues that should pose a problem. I dropped a flag because of language, but I didn't find it insurmountable myself.

Bret uses language like: wise-as_ and dumbas_ , (much preferable to the "F" word and the Lord's name in vain) and he refers to a teacher as a dic_wa_ several times. It is not gratuitous. Rather, it's in keeping with the illustration of his obnoxious character points. His mother and sister are better models of dealing with adversity, something Bret acknowledges (which illustrates one of the redeeming aspects of his character.)

Bret, being a jerk, is hard on his father and completely dimissive of him and disrespectful after his father’s arrest.

The fact that he is challenged to forgive his father by a man who needs his own forgiveness as a father is a complicated, human, and teaching kind of moment.

And while Bret does not approach life with any overt Christian hope or charity, he does connect in the end to the universal value of love and forgiveness by teaming up with the daughter of the man whom he has loved as a father figure.



Post a Comment

regina was here

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008