Saturday, October 29, 2011

Charlene Reviews - Bobby Slater's World: An Early 1960's Summer Ghost Story by Hugh Centerville

ISBN #: 978-1451515642
Page Count: 260
Copyright: 2010


Summer, 1964 and for 13 year old Bobby Slater, 1 of those rich summer kids up on Baker Lake, it's idyllic - swimming, fishing, baseball, hiking the mountains around the lake, camping on the islands, but what Bobby wants is a girlfriend. Be careful what you wish for, Bobby. Bobby gets his girl, a local girl, an Indian cutie and it's 1 soda, 2 straws, foreheads touching, eyes lost in love. It's bliss except the girl is fickle. Sometimes she's sweet and funny, sometimes not and it's because she's living with a deadly 150 year old curse. Bobby will lead the fight against the curse and he'll have help from people living and dead. He'll have his sisters and his loyal sidekick, best friend/cousin Joe, who spends summers with the family and Bobby will have a grumpy Indian war chief and the local gypsy fortune teller and from the other side there's Sophronia, the Indian girl's mom, dead 10 years, a victim of the curse. Mostly, though, it's on Bobby Slater. Can he break down the barrier that divides the summer people from the locals? Can he bring them all together to save the girl?

Charlene's Review:

Bobby Slater's World takes the reader back to a simpler time, when families vacationed on the lake, and kids played together outside until dark. Bobby spends most of his summers just this way, enjoying the vacation town on Baker Lake, and this year is no different, except he's 13 and on the lookout for a girlfriend. After having his heart broken by his sister's best friend, Bobby sets out alone and finds himself in trouble with the "townies," kids that live there all year long. Chased and caught by the "Squawman," Bobby soon finds his first love with an Indian girl that is said to be cursed by a 150 year old spirit. In order to save her, Bobby must team up with the girl's family and a fortune teller, and finally bury the bones of an Indian boy that was killed by the white man.

A very simple read, but delightful in its innocence of the time. To think that way back before video games ruled, there was family time and kids played outside gladly. Added to the innocence is your typical coming-of-age story about Bobby and his friends. It has all the angst and heartbreak, joy and wonderment of first love, when everything seems possible. To top it all off, we have a curse, a war chief, and a gypsy.

There are more subtle storylines taking place in the background, intrigue and excitement, as well as innocent romance, lots of baseball, and even more, plenty of heart. The characters are relatable. I would have liked to see some of the characters explained better. It is alluded to that Bobby's mother is sad and lethargic, and the author went as far as to dialogue about her seeing a psychiatrist, but that storyline was not expanded, leaving me to wonder if I missed something of importance. That said, it is a fun, enjoyable story about a courageous young boy growing up in a simpler world.

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