Saturday, August 15, 2015

Book Review: Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story

Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story by Jonathan LaPoma is an elegiac and intuitive coming-of-age novel follows a group of fresh college graduates who struggle with feelings of estrangement and their addictions as they attempt to endure a year of education at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.

24 year-old Luke Entelechy, a wannabe writer sees his artistic output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami's most exigent middle schools and begins to relate to the disregard and neglect his students undergo, and is faced with a poignant choice to let his shadowy times of yore tear him down, or grow over the struggle to realize his latent as an artist and a bona fide human being.

The story is pink and tense, well anchored by two protagonists whose impudence and similar sense of exploration keep the narrative lively with an amusing as well as real glance at the troubled American educational system, courtesy of two men propelled by persistence and adventuresome state of mind.

Reading this story is a real hoot, made of good literature and impeccable refined style for adults who find the dandy lively and captivating comedy theatre and the lash of ironic aphorisms. But it is perhaps even more pleasant reading for children who devour the story in a couple of hours without getting bored for a moment, taken by the pace of the narrative, amused by the find of the mischievous protagonists, the reactions of neurotic ghosts and its attempts, sometimes awkward, to overcome themselves.

There is never a lack of style and all the words, carefully measured, enclose a meaning and a wink. You will be transported to another era and savour the taste and contradictions. The interest is always kept alive by thumping beats of the dialogues and in the epilogue the suspense is created with such skill that there are concerns about the fate of young protagonists.

The author delves into the intricacies of the human soul with padded outlines with rapid strokes, no less precise or less deep psychological level. But above if you have motivation with true lightness for the duration of the story and do not think about anything.

The theme focuses on which the story is the opposition between the aristocratic American society, linked to the traditions of the past, and the upper middle class American pragmatism, anchored in the present and the tangible things, concrete and forward-looking.

The narrator is external and omniscient and mostly limited to narrate the events and restore the dialogue and it is through the words of the characters that define character, intentions, and relationship dynamics. The style is simple, clear, direct, ironic and seductive as that of stage plays and aphorisms. The author leaves ample room for dialogue so that the story has often been the object of transpositions theatre.

It is a humorous parody, typical of the American tradition which reflects the typical pattern with a progression of suspense until the climax. But in the story there is nothing scary, even the voltage is obtained from the rapid sketches and funny skits, cultured with the desecrating typical ability of the author.



Format: Paperback ♥ Publisher: Laughing Fire Press ♥ Pages: 352 ♥ Published: 2015 ♥ Language: English ♥ ISBN-13: 978-0967492292
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