First off, I’m not a big fan of the title. But this new sort of fantasy by “Twerp” author Mark Goldblatt nicely captures the emotions of 13-year-old David Salmon as his family is falling apart.
Mom has left home and only talks to David on the phone. Dad is trying to be a good dad but is failing badly. The stench of alcohol hints at how he is facing the future.
David does have a best friend in Hector at his Flushing, Queens, New York middle school. Unfortunately, even a best friend can’t help David deal with his family crisis.
Enter Winston, a middle aged Englishman who must be a hallucination. For David though Winston is someone to talk with and seems to be around when needed. The man helps David with not only family issues but the trials and tribulations middle school brings. This includes a first girl friend and other confusing challenges.
When Winston eventually reveals the real reason why he has appeared, things get more confusing. Winston wants David to deliver a message to someone named The Walrus.
The first person narration shines as David hides the emotional turmoil that weighs him down. It’s been said “All You Need is Love” and with it David might be able to face the past for a new future.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD by Mark GoldBlatt
- Beatle fans will be the only ones to pick up on the references to the famed foursome. For the 12 and up intended audience, they will be treated to an engaging story about trauma and healing.
- A school guidance counselor is portrayed as a positive presence for David. His brief appearance provide a glimpse at the good these people can bring to a school.
- Coping with life for a boy gets all star treatment in a story with no chapters, only an image of those eyeglasses transitioning you to the next scene. It flowed beautifully.
- The ending was rather abrupt, but the issues put forth would be great discussion topics for middle schoolers.
- The setting of Flushing, Queens was a perfect backdrop for a story with heart and hope.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Goldblatt is the author of the best-selling middle grade novel Twerp and its sequel Finding the Worm, as well as many works of fiction and non-fiction for adults. His writing has appeared in popular and academic journals including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, New York Observer, USA Today, Time, Reason, Commentary, National Review, Quillette, Philosophy Now, and the Sewanee Theological Review. He teaches developmental English and religious history at Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York.
COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BELOW.
BE SURE TO ALSO VISIT THE OTHER POSTS FROM BLOGGERS ON TODAY’S MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!
Sounds an interesting story and an unusual angle (Winston!), and I am intrigued by the no-chapters-just glasses to the next scene, glad to hear it worked so well! Thanks for sharing!
This sounds interesting. I never read a book with no chapters. Glad you liked it.
This was a tough one to review without revealing too much. I also agree with you about not caring for the title.
This does sound good. I used to live (and teach school) near Flushing, so that would be a selling point for me! I agree with you about the title. Actually, at first I thought it was Might As Well Be Read.
Interesting title! How unusual, a book with no chapters — makes me curious. Interesting plot too!
Gosh, this sounds good! I don’t like the title either, but your review makes me want to run out and get this. Thanks for the post.