Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD: The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace

The Kings and Queens of Roam is a nice little read by Daniel Wallace, who is also the author of the novel Big Fish. The author looks a little crazy in his book jacket picture but then with such a creative imagination one would have to be a little bit fey :)  I would deign to be fey to be as creative as him!

Short Synopsis:

The novel is written in tall tale folklore style of the south.  A man named Elijah kidnaps a Chinese man in China named Ming Kai. Elijah kidnaps him so he can have the Chinese man help Elijah become rich by teaching him the secrets of making silk. It is during pioneer and settler times in the United States. They search far and wide for the resources needed to make silk, then build a town close to that spot.  It tells a story of luck and chance and hard work with a few friendly ghosts giving advice for good measure.  The novel also reminds us that everything didn't come up roses for immigrants to the United States, that they were often disappointed.
 
The story centers somewhat on Elijah's two daughters Helen and Rachel. After their parents die early in life Helen and Rachel spend all their time together as Rachel is blind.  Helen tells Rachel a series of mistruths about herself and the world that makes Rachel afraid and also makes her feel bad about herself.  Helen is able to do this because Rachel is blind and can't see and the two are fairly isolated the way the live in a small town.  What happens when Rachel breaks away and finds out all the mistruths her sister told her?

Practical Life Applications:

1.  This is one that is in a lot of novels and movies but: DON'T BE WANDERING AROUND IN THE WOODS LATE AT NIGHT. NOTHING GOOD CAN HAPPEN!

2.  The story talks about how the world is not an easy place and the most important thing people can do is build them a good private life where they can enjoy themselves and find comfort.

3.  Don't automatically assume even the closest people to you are telling you the truth.  There are many and varied reasons why someone could goad or cause others to believe mistruths.  In this story the girl who believed the mistruths was physically blind.  However just being na├»ve  or inexperienced can make us mentally blind to the truth as well. Don't let some messed up person's opinion, or their meanness  make you feel bad about yourself! Trolls will be trolls....

4.  The ghosts in the story knew the past and the present but they could not predict the future.  So, just like the ghosts didn't know everything there is to know, no one person in the world is right about  everything! Keep your own counsel for your life.

And there we have it, a book review off the top of my head for THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ROAM.