BLUE SPRINGS by Peter Rennebohm
The author, Peter Rennebohm, is a very nice man. This is evident from his writing; he is the kind of man one wishes lived next door to one’s children, so they could grow up and learn really worthwhile things about the world.
BLUE SPRINGS is told from the point of view of eleven year old Charlie Nash. Traumatic experiences shock Charlie and he considers running away from home with his dog, Taffy, a golden retriever. The bad guys in BLUE SPRINGS are suitably terrible—moreover, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing—and Charlie falls victim to the kind of adult antics where the child is the guaranteed loser. Also there are two villains intent on destroying the boy, each with differing motives. That’s a lot of world hatred and misfortune to focus around one eleven year old boy, but Charlie is an extraordinary child.
The boy gains a much needed adult protector—almost. This is handled well. Charlie’s adventures lead him on to meet many fallen angels, normal people with a few dents and bruises. Seen through Charlie’s eyes, these people give the story its engaging sense of wonder. And of course Charlie learns some tough lessons from the man whom we wished lived next door.
The storyline is engaging; tension is maintained throughout, and keeps the reader turning pages. Many characters are complex, well drawn, and do unexpected things. There are one or two instances where the narrator’s point of view is rather more adult than it should be, but the story is otherwise consistent.
When I was ten, I received a book with a story of a child who, in an adult way, had taken control of her own life like Charlie Nash. For years, I reread this book every few months. Something about the child taking on the adult world and succeeding, despite formidable odds, was immensely satisfying. I wonder if an eleven year old boy would feel the same way about BLUE SPRINGS? Though, truthfully, I don’t believe this story is intended for kids.
What’s required is a rainy day or a sunny Sunday afternoon, a comfortable chair, possibly a cup of tea and BLUE SPRINGS. And the willingness to participate in a wonderful adventure.