Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jolted Newton Starker's Rules for Survival by Arthur Slade

The Starker family are cursed to die by lightening. Newton is the youngest member of the family and might well be the last of the bloodline. He has decided to do the only thing he can think of, he joins the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival. This means moving from his home to the middle of Moose Jaw in Canada and having to learn how to live in the wilderness. In the meantime, he's recovering from his mother's death and the death of his great grandmother. Both were hit by lightening.
The last gift his great grandmother had given him was a diary having belonged to Andrew Starker. Newton hopes to find a clue in the diary as to why this is happening to them.

This was a delightful 203 page book. I found this story to be touching and very funny. Laced with a passion for cooking truffles in any recipe that he can, Newton is a character that makes you look at your own life with a little more humour.
He's has this strange disability that has kept him sheltered for his whole life, unable to have any close friends because of the fact the lightening can kill anyone around him. The fact the main characters are in their early teens is not missed. The metaphor of going off to school away from home for the first time, experiencing that freedom is a perfect way to show how facing your fears is the first step to growing up. He's given a pig to help find the truffles he's addicted to, which turns out to be the compass he needs to find his own footing in life.
The character of Jacob, the teenaged writer, adds a second layer of sweetness; almost like a mix of a comedy duo and the voice of reason.
As the title suggests, there are rules for survival within the story. Some of these are a little cringe worthy but I found myself laughing too. One scene in particular describes having to use the eyes of a camel for water.
I warn anyone who is a vegetarian to tackle this novel with a light heart. The book is well worth the few moments of queasiness that you might get from the "mystery meat" scene.

I look forward to another round of the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival.

No comments:

Post a Comment