Unforgettable! This is the word that resonated in my mind after reading Unperturbed Boy by Andrew Nardo. Although all writers must use their imagination and writing skills to create a novel that will appeal to readers, the author went far beyond the norm when plotting this intriguing work of fiction. Without his powerful imagination, the main character of Danny Snodgrass could not have come to life with such realism.
Who is Danny? He is a seven-year-old boy who finds the circumstances of his life so difficult that he uses his imagination to escape the reality of his surroundings. Although it is a common coping technique, Danny’s imagination is so powerful that reality sometimes collides with fantasy, leaving readers anxious for his well-being, even his own survival.
Yes, there is the fascinating darkness of danger, the incredible sadness of Danny’s plight, and the desire to crush the bullies, but there is also the lightness of magic, adventure, victory, and laughter. The author subtly and not so subtly allows readers to see the suffering and emotional stress that Danny is trying to deal with. It is almost impossible for her to accept that her father, with whom she had a close relationship, is really dead. He desperately needs it because his mother hasn’t been there for him in a long time.
Danny has a distant memory that she was a loving person before something crossed his mind. In recent times, all he did was sit on the porch and watch the aliens, hardly acknowledging Danny’s presence. When he did, it seemed threatening; however, he had always felt protected by his father, who was a long-distance truck driver, a profession that cost him his life. After this tragedy, Danny initially thought he was getting his mother back as he seemed to change, but instead, he found himself imprisoned in the basement of his home. While Danny fights for his own freedom, Tobias, a ghost, also needs a type of release. Can and will these two characters help each other?
There are many other colorful personalities readers will meet as they turn the pages of Unperturbed Boy. Danny and Alfred are literally inseparable, Captain Neutron is an extraordinary goldfish, Goliath is a fearless rooster, and Mrs. Fenstermaker is quite an eccentric but caring woman. She happens to be one of my favorite characters, aside from Danny, of course. As mentioned above, Tobias is a ghost who also serves as an angel, and while he is quite the opposite at times, readers will like him the more they see him in action. He has his own problems: being dead is just one of them.
This author’s general and descriptive writing skills are remarkable, and readers will undoubtedly want to pursue his career as a writer. I think Unperturbed Boy is a book that appeals to readers of all ages, from young children to the elderly. It is definitely a “must read” and would make a great gift for all avid readers of fiction.