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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 12/2019
  • 9781734308303
  • 240 pages
  • $29.20
Open Ebook Ebook Details
  • 12/2019
  • 9781734308310
  • 240 pages
  • $5.99
20/20
A man living in a future world beset by environmental challenges tells the story, set in the past, of what life was like for him as a boy who, along with his mom and little sister, struggles to survive, with the help of a mysterious hermit, an Amazon Princess Warrior, and the remnants of a lost tribe of indigenous peoples, in what was then, in the 2020s, a changing world beset by violent storms, economic collapse and families being torn apart at the seams.
Reviews
Debut author Clark introduces young readers to survivalism in this warm-hearted tale of a boy’s adventures during a time of climate upheaval. In a future world under constant threat from storms and floods, an elderly white man known as Captain begins to record memories of his childhood in 2020s Miami. As a boy, Captain meets two survivalists, a white man named Harrison and a Native American woman named Calusa, who show him the basics of off-the-grid living. When a massive storm ravages their neighborhood, the unlikely trio bring their community together to build self-sufficient homes across Florida.

Clark’s handling of racial matters, while well-intentioned, is somewhat flawed. The explicit use of racial slurs and hateful language, clearly intended to demonstrate their hurtfulness, feels gratuitous. Clichés abound as a Native American medicine man takes Captain’s sister on a vision quest (after which she changes her name to White Feather) and pronounces Captain “one of us” even as Captain continues thinking of Calusa as an “Amazon Warrior Princess.” The apparently surprising sight of a mixed-race group working harmoniously together feels more 1920s than 2020s, as do a reference to Captain’s mother being a “candy striper” at a hospital and the boy’s use of phrases such as “hauled off to the hoosegow.”

In the first half of the book, Harrison introduces his ardent student (and thereby the reader) to practical concepts of self-reliance: filtering water naturally, growing vegetables, generating electricity, and so on. The action picks up as the big storm approaches. The framing device for each chapter, in which the elderly Captain encounters something that triggers a childhood memory, eventually becomes wearing. However, the childhood scenes themselves are educational and often uplifting, grounding optimism in realistic ways for individuals to help one another. This tale about the importance of living at one with the planet will strike a chord with readers eager for pointers to a more sustainable present and future.

Takeaway: This road map to living harmoniously with the planet educates young readers through an uplifting story of communities coming together.

Great for fans of Johann Rudolf Wyss’s Swiss Family Robinson, Darren Simpson’s Scavengers.

Production grades
Cover: B-
Design and typography: -
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B+

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 12/2019
  • 9781734308303
  • 240 pages
  • $29.20
Open Ebook Ebook Details
  • 12/2019
  • 9781734308310
  • 240 pages
  • $5.99

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