Friday, December 2, 2011

Noah Zarc by D. Robert Pease, A Coming of Age Tale Tells Universal Truths




I received an invitation from D. Robert Pease to read his new novel and provide a review of it for others. I am happy that I accepted his invitation. Not only is Noah Zarc a good read, it also serves to illustrate another literary archetype: Coming of Age stories. I enjoy them as much as the Romance tale, featured for many posts in November, 2011. Coming of Age stories appeal to me because they are ageless, telling a story that all of us know. Here’s how.

Humans mature more slowly than other mammals; our brains continue to grow from womb through the first two decades of our lives. During those years, we bank knowledge and experience, especially emotional experience.

In the beginning, naïve and trusting, we believe the adults in our lives care for us, that they will nurture and love us, but tragedy and trauma strip away that innocent illusion, teaching us that some adults care nothing about our welfare, some mean us harm, some may even betray us. We develop our first callus, the first of many that adults cultivate in order to dull the pain that is one part of our lives. In other words, innocence begins to fall away, and we mature into the knowledge that life is not an easy ride.

Noah Zarc is such a story, and a good one. Read it. You won’t regret it. Here’s why.

When the novel opens, Noah, Jr. is twelve years old, the average age for Coming of Age protagonists. He is on the cusp of becoming a teenager, but he still shows many childlike qualities. For example, Noah has almost no experience with girls other than his older sister so when he meets a strong, smart, resourceful, brave, and pretty girl named Adina, he blushes often and doesn't know what to say. Still, he notices how brave she is as an orphan living in a cold world. She bears her misfortune without becoming bitter, and Noah likes those qualities in her character. Noah also notices how pretty she is, and he likes looking at her. He’s attracted to her mind, her character, and her appearance. Noah is growing up.

Another childlike trait in twelve-year-old Noah is his tendency to think about himself first. While his older brother Hamilton, older sister Sam, and his parents urge him to be patient, to think, and plan, Noah is often rash, jumping to his own conclusions, dashing off on some adventure, and causing troubles for everyone. But over the course of the novel, through impulsive acts and their consequences, Noah learns to take responsibility for his mistakes, to walk in the shoes of others, and to forgive. Adina helps him in this because he recognizes how lucky he is, in spite of his handicap, and how difficult Adina’s life is. In other words, Noah evolves away from his childlike traits in favor of adult insights.

What helps Noah become more responsible, compassionate, and forgiving is facing danger and overcoming misunderstanding. In other words, Noah’s experience has some tragic elements and certain traumas, but these are the exciting elements of Noah Zarc, a novel set in a distant future when Earth is not habitable and man has learned how to travel through space and time, jumping as far back as 8500 B. C. and as far forward as 3042 A. D.

Noah also enjoys the love of dedicated, wise parents who sacrifice for greater good in the world. They fight for animals, healthy environments, and justice. More important, they fight for each other, and they build a loyal, loving family. They and their children represent all that we hope for in this world: work that has purpose, work that makes a difference, and love. In the end, these are what makes Noah Zarc such an enjoyable book. Noah is learning to become the same kind of adult as his parents, a little bit calloused after losses and sorrows, but hopeful nevertheless.

Reading Challenge:

Read Noah Zarc, a young adult novel by D. Robert Pease.

Writing Challenge:

A little more than half way through the novel, Noah Zarc, Noah, Jr. realizes that he cannot go back; his “life . . . changed —forever” (187). Write about the event when your life changed forever.

GUM (Grammar, Usage and Mechanics): More Commonly Confused Words

A callus is that rough, hardened skin that folks try to soften with lotions and hand creams. Construction workers, for example, may have calluses on their knuckles and rock climbers on the pads of their fingers. Emotional bruises, on the other hand, cause us to become calloused.

In this post, I explained that tragedy and traumas leave calluses (noun) upon our psyches; the result is that we may become calloused (adjective) or insensitive, even indifferent to others who could hurt us again.

Next Week:  More about Noah Zarc by D. Robert Pease

Blog Tour Notes

Noah Zarc: Mammoth TroubleOVERVIEW
Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth's animals from extinction.
Life couldn't be better.
But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying Earth... for the second time.
Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com (available in paperback or as an eBook) or the online retailer of your choice (more links below).
CASH PRIZES
Guess what? You could win a $50 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $50 too by having the most comments. So tell your friends to stop by and comment on this post too!
GIVEAWAY
Win 1 of 5 copies of the paperback version of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by entering the giveaway on GoodReads.
D. Robert PeaseTHE AUTHOR
D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.
Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at www.drobertpease.com
BOOK TRAILER

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