Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll – A Book Review

I’ve read Carroll’s Land of Laughs and found his characterization very impressive in that particular book, although I felt his plot bottomed out toward the ending as it abandoned those previously established traits.

With Bones of the Moon, however, I never really connected with his protagonist, Cullen James, or her friends and family.  While they had interesting backgrounds, they simply didn’t feel real to me.  Because of this, and what I consider awkward dialogue, I couldn’t fully immerse myself in Bones of the Moon.

I would like to note that Carroll had an incredible concept.  I especially enjoyed the role of abortion in the novel and the psychological undertones that resulted.  Carroll did a remarkably nice job of leaving the specifics of the fantasy world that his main character travels to rather vague.  At one point, you think that she is slipping into Rondua during her dreams, but then you suspect that it’s just the opposite: that Cullen is sliding into our world from Rondua.  But then, just when you’ve about made up your mind one way or the other, Carroll hints that perhaps this is all simply in her head—the mind’s way of dealing with an unhealed emotional scar.  And then the end of the novel arrives, and all three of these possibilities converge, and you’re left with no answers at all.

If this sounds complicated, it is.  And, had the dialogue been just a little more practical, I think things might have been different for me.  But the dialogue tended to teeter on the edge of hyperbole, and this took me right out of the novel.

I won’t give up on Carroll, though.  The two novels I’ve read by him have had some extraordinary qualities and it’s obvious that his imagination is superb.  Perhaps I’ll try one of his more recent works and see what I think since the two I’ve read were from before 1988.

It should be noted, by the way, that Carroll had rave reviews for Bones of the Moon by none other than Stephen King himself, so take that into consideration.

Free Samples Of My Fiction

I’m excited to announce that free samples of my work are now available at my website.  Among them you’ll find stories delving into horror, religion, family dynamics, love, humor, and empowerment.  If you like them, I hope you’ll consider checking out my two short story collections and novel.

Just click on the link to find them:

https://scottwilliamfoley.com/sample-stories/

Horse Crazy: The Silver Horse Switch by Alison Lester – A Book Review

Intended for young readers, Horse Crazy is the story of Bonnie and Sam, two young girls living in the bush of Australia.  Though they don’t have their own steeds, they do everything they can to ride their fellow townspeople’s horses.  One night, a wild horse jumps the fence and switches places with Sam’s father’s horse that would much prefer to live in the wilderness.  Sam’s father is the sheriff, and this replacement horse must adapt quickly to the police horse lifestyle, especially when a child’s life is at stake.

The Silver Horse Switch is slow to start—very slow.  In fact, I have great difficulty believing a child would want to stick with this story that spends the first twenty pages simply describing each horse in the community.  It isn’t until midway through the book that anything resembling an actual story commences.  Once the story is fully rolling, however, the book becomes quite engaging.

The artwork by Roland Harvey is relatively simple but not without charm.  By and large, Harvey illustrates the scenes accurately and I particularly enjoyed his backgrounds.

I also found the glossary of Australian terminology a clever touch and helpful to the story’s clarity.

So while The Silver Horse Switch is overall a pleasant experience, it takes far too long for the actual story to emerge.

Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter – A Book Review

Though not particularly full of machismo, I am not prone to cry, but this book made the old eyes water just a bit.

Based on a true story during Taliban-occupied Afghanistan, Nasreen is a little girl whose parents are taken by Taliban troops.  She retreats within herself, no longer smiling or talking.  Desperate, her grandmother takes her to a secret school—a place forbidden for young girls by the Taliban.  There Nasreen is given a glimpse of the outside world, a place where artistry, intelligence, and learning is valued.

Aimed at children, I picked this book up for my own daughter.  I wanted her to have a worldly view.  However, I think I learned just as much from Nasreen’s Secret School as she will.  It reaffirmed my faith in the power of education and the importance of allowing children all over the world to learn.  It reminded me that through academics, a child can realize self-worth and overcome isolation.  It made me proud to be an educator myself.

The art is magnificent as well.  And though delivered in a simple fashion, it only serves to bolster the emotional impact of an already powerful narrative.  They are stunning not just for their colors and style, but for the passion they convey.

I completely recommend Nasreen’s Secret School not just for children, but also for adults who may have forgotten the significance of a child’s education.

RE: VERSE STRIKES AGAIN!

Dear Educators, Librarians, Writers, and Poets,

Downtown Bloomington’s TheatresCool is excited to again present RE: VERSE, a night of poetry reading and performance. All ages are welcome to attend this open mic event, and anyone fourteen or older is encouraged to perform an original poem or dramatic reading. We’d like to keep this a monthly event, so please help it continue!

This month’s RE: VERSE will be on December 8th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. It’s a free event, but $5 donations are greatly appreciated.

Know a poet who would love to take part? Forward this message to him or her! We are thankful for any help you can provide in facilitating the love of art. This rare venue is such a great opportunity for our artists, let’s not squander it!

Here’s a link to the location and its address:

http://www.theatrescool.com/
403 N. Main Street
Bloomington, IL

Questions? Feel free to get in touch and I’ll answer them.

Sincerely,
Scott William Foley

“A Christmas Confrontation” – My December News and Views Short Story (Now Online!)

Traditionalist James Henderson is enraged and he’s got a bone to pick with Marty Yaple, a youth minister.  In fact, James is so angry that he raids Marty’s church, catching Marty off guard.  It’s James, though, who is surprised in the end, because Marty turns out to be someone other than who James envisaged, and because the minister helps James realize that his real issue isn’t with Marty’s Christmas Eve service—Get Jiggy With Jesus’ Birthday—but with something else entirely.

But just what is at the heart of James’ fury?  How does Marty help James deal with his ire?  What is so different about Marty that James hadn’t expected?  To learn these answers, read “A Christmas Confrontation” in this month’s issue of News and Views for the Young at Heart.