THE PACT: No One Should Ever Have To Stand Alone ~Mitchell S. Karnes
This story begins with almost too many problems for any eighth grader to deal with at any one time, and yet Scott Addison does just march into his new life and move forward. I think that boys have a huge territorial problem to deal with when they enter a new school system, mid – term, particularly during the teen years of uncertainty and confusion. Scott’s father has died just a few months into the start of the school year and his mother moves away from their life in Iowa City to be closer to her parents in Southern Illinois. Scott arrives at his new school just in time to see the smallest boy in his class being slammed into a holly bush and his lunch bag being destroyed. Other kids are not getting involved with the 4 bullies, but Scott just steps into the fray and sends the 4 scurrying. He has made 4 enemies and 1 new friend.
The boy in the holly bush attack – Paul, also loves to play the role-playing fantasy game Warriors and Thieves and introduces Scott to 2 high school fellows, Chris and Luke, who are also game players. They become quite a team; a welcome relief from past and present struggles. I believe that many readers will enjoy the game playing segments in this book and I felt included in the process and found excitement as they built their story lines and their community. Good problem – solving tools being developed and yet they were still young boys and they were not perfect.
THE PACT is also about father – son relationships. So many of the father figures portrayed in the media these days are often too remote and powerful or buffoonish characters. Scott’s father was very focused on his son and was concerned about teaching his boy about his work as a popular fantasy writer; wanting Scott to become a good and moral person who could succeed in a culture and a society. He also wanted his son to be able to accept and carry on his legacy as a writer. Chris’s father was also a college professor and highly valued his son’s intellect and reasoning skills, but was distant and remote. One father was abusive to his son and another wanted his son not to be a sissy artist but a “real” man who used his hands at “real manly” work. It was very interesting to watch the boys try to accept their father’s expectations and work to manifest them within their parent’s modeling.
The women in the story are respected and kind but none are leaders or exceptional, several are bright. THE PACT is definitely a white, middle class tale and I think my daughters would have enjoyed reading this book when they were in about 4th or 5th grade. It is not a story about big city issues and male behaviors in poverty or marginalized situations. The fundamentalist Christian youth are also addressed and the boys make their opinions known and they discover ways that are acceptable for their own, diverse beliefs. THE PACT is a very good story about problem-solving and maturing in a community.
Differences in people are addressed in this story and in the fantasy games. Acceptance is a big idea and being open to learning is stressed. I so enjoyed the English teacher in the story and liked her rewards from the Hero. The issues of computers, science, math, poverty, inequality, racism, global partnership are not addressed in this story at all and yet it is full of big insights on the personal level. Mitchell S. Karnes did a good job of telling this story and the book is catching on as there were only 4 copies of the book left on AMAZON’s shelf as I write this review. I know there are lots of young readers who would enjoy THE PACT.
Mitchell S. Karnes resides in Tennessee with his wife and seven children. He is an English teacher and the Pastor of Walker Baptist Church.
(TLC logo) This book was sent to me by the author and TLC online book tours for review. The author is offering a copy of his book for a comment on this blog site. This book is part of a series of stories with the same characters and Book Two THE DRAGON’S PAWN is scheduled for release April 3, 2014. Thank you TLC and Mitchell S. Karnes for the opportunity to read – THE PACT.