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Top Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer Grady Harp’s 5-star review of Jack: Book 1 in the Trilogy. (Updated Article)

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Review by Grady Harp, Hall of Fame, Top 100 Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice

“Massachusetts born but world traveler author Gary L. Dorion has a colorful career and outlook on the world. He has been a journalist specializing in court coverage in Boston, has taught English and Global History in New York, an author of three books (wide ranging topics), and now lives in Thailand where he is devoting his attention to Young Adult novels – the JACK Trilogy – of which this is the first installment. Gary’s strong interest in history is evident in all of his works – whether about the Holocaust or the African American saga in American history, and it is that depth of knowledge that informs his writing while he entertains us with colorful characters and his magnetically attractive prose style.

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“Gary’s novel is rather short and is directed to the young adult (ages 12 – 18) and he knows this audience well, able to speak in their language form to further involve them in the progression of the story. For instance, he opens with a prodromal conversation that while hinting at the story ahead still bows to the characterizations he is creating: ‘Crawling up alongside the red wooden façade of the school house, Jack and I peeked through the windows and scanned the room. There was Mike sitting on one end of a bench, paying the strictest attention to master’s lesson. “The sniveling little worm!” Jack said, scrunching up his nose. “I knew he didn’t have the nerve to skip. Next, he’ll be licking Whittemore’s boots – the little worm.” “What are we gonna do?” I asked. “What do ya mean what’a we gonna do? What are you gonna do you moron?” Jack said and rapped his knuckles on the wooden door of the school house as hard as he could, then bolted toward the hedges across the Meetinghouse Road, saying, “Run son if you knows what’s good for ya!”

“Comfortable in the arena the important story unfolds, and Gary’s synopsis is succinct: ‘The setting is Charleston, South Carolina, and it also is set on a slave ship that traffics in the Caribbean islands before and during the American Civil War. It is about a rebel’s rebel, Jack, who, as a young boy, challenges the racist teachings of his schoolmaster, but later following him to sea aboard a slave ship and ultimately meeting his fate at the epic battle of Gettysburg.’

“In Part I the time is set in the American south one year prior to the civil war. It focuses on three characters who are children at a fictional schoolhouse in Charleston who challenge their racist schoolmaster, a former preacher on a slave ship on the high seas. Jack is at the center of the revolt against “Master Whittemore” and ultimately defeats him during a “trial” that master conducts in his little schoolhouse. Master, after some reflection, sees the criticism his students have tried to make and understands that his efforts to sing the praises of the plantation slavery system and of the benefits of secession were wrong. He decides to return to the same slave ship on the ruse that he will again preach the necessity of slavery. He does the exact opposite and tries to incite rebellion. Master is thrown overboard. Jack and Jeremy had signed up for the journey to Jamaica and other slave-trading ports after they saw the change in their teacher. In Jamaica they meet two free blacks-America and her friend-and together the four conspire to take the ship and set free the entire slave cargo.’

“Adventure peppered with solid humor to make the tale yet more pungent, this first installment is fine reading for adults as well as young adults. A solid start on a worthy project.” – Grady Harp

Author’s Note: Teachers and others: For a limited time as of September 1, 2016, read Jack 1, 2, & part of 3 – the latter for which new chapters added as they are written – free at Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/gdorion. Please comment in the comments section below any chapter. Short reviews on Amazon – even a sentence or two – are an indie author’s lifeblood as they raise the author’s book rankings on Amazon and help to generate more sales as prospective buyers base purchases frequently on recommendations.  Dorion’s Amazon Author Page: Please click on any book image on that page to purchase and/or to go to the page to post a review. Thanks!  – G.L. Dorion

Upsetting the Schoolmaster's Lesson

Illustration by Inga Shalvashvili, Russia

 

What other Amazon reviewers are saying about Jack Book 1:

“This book is one that I would have my teens read so that they could have a bit of our jagged history put into a context that causes them to be eager to turn the page and find out what happens next. It always takes my breath away to read books like this when I realize how recent this history really was. Definitely recommend this book especially if you are trying to get your older kids into history!”
Marisa Slusarcyk
“Jack part one is a beautifully written. It deals with a sensitive subject like slavery in a unique way. The protagonist Jack reminds you of the mischievous childhood friends one always cherishes. He reminds you of Huckleberry Finn.”
Amazon customer
“This book is a love letter to Mark Twain’s works, with an inconfundible vibe of the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, including a lot of traveling through the epoch America and a good depiction of how American society was at the time. I had a lot of fun and laughed my fair share witnessing all the occurrences of Jack and Jeremy, how they managed to beat Whittemore at a trial was a blast. Definitely a good, fun read that will appeal both to youngsters who will relate to the main characters and adults who will remember their childhood years and enjoy a Twain-style story.”
Simon Gomez
“Jack is a very entertaining character who you will want to hear
more from. The plot is well developed and the story is well written. The book held my attention with a nice balance of different emotions. I look forward to reading the second book. Well done.”
Kindle customer
“A good one. Duplicity, and the view that in each of us, there is at least some good. Jack and his friends are just boys… But, in the time of this novel, young men already. Young, but, already faced with life’s challenges, of which the most important probably is: do I leave this as is, or do I fight it? Dark sometimes; and I would like to know more of what goes on in Jack’s head – why he is who he is? Really? Why does he do what he does? All I can say is: read it! Remember the old Orson Wells’ Nashua photo-copier adds? (before your time, maybe!!) They all ended with the big bearded guy saying/asking: ‘Makes you think, doesn’t it??”          – Corrie Mitchell, author, Captetown, South Africa

 

 

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