The Book: The House on the Corner, by Michael Rains
The Blurb: When Chester visits his Uncle William’s stuffy house, he’s only trying to avoid cleaning the hall bathroom. But a single clue written on a gum wrapper may send them all on a frantic journey, across many cities and through places unknown to society, and into a strange war that no one really understands.
The Babble: As a mother of a dyslexic pre-teen, I’m always looking for exciting new fodder to excite my son about reading and The House on the Corner has the potential to be an excellent candidate. Unfortunately, THonC doesn’t live up to that potential. The writing is fractured and hard to follow. The premise is also fractured and hard to follow: are Chester and the gang fighting evil, facilitating scientific leaps, or just on a mad dash across the country in search of like-minded crazies? Ultimately I was left wondering if this book is meant to be fun or a religious/social commentary. Definitely not something Thomas would enjoy.
That being said, I must come to the defense of this book in one area. As a social commentary it caught my attention. Have y’all heard of the creep (not a creep, the creep)? ‘The creep’ is what I call the quiet burrowing-in of previously unknown or unacceptable ideas into our common societal mentality. Some examples of the creep include the regularity of interracial dating/marriage, the acceptance of homosexuality, the burgeoning criticism of the overweight and the barely disguised hostility towards the Christian community. What once was taboo has, through quiet, consistent bombardment, become acceptable. While we weren’t paying attention. Mr. Rains describes it perfectly as follows: “Imagine a country invades another country, and they win, and march in and change all the rules and blow up all the buildings. That would be a terrible thing, wouldn’t it?” Chester had heard about this, and seen some bits of old war movies on TV. It did seem rather horrible. Auntie continued, “But imagine that there is no army, and there is no invasion, no millions of soldiers marching through the streets and firing cannons and blowing things up, but then things are changing anyways. Only nobody notices, because like we said, there is no army. But things are changing, and changing, and soon nobody remembers how it was and what they loved so much, so much that they would have fought a whole army to hold onto it before.”
Books are magic; even the bad ones have something to say.
The Behest: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”