Simple Pleasures Book Review:
Between Two Ends by David Ward
Every once in awhile a book comes along that, while intended for a younger audience, captures the imagination of readers of all ages. Between Two Ends is just such a book.
Having long considered books of all kinds the greatest and most pleasurable escape of all, I was intrigued when I read the plot of Ward’s novel. In Between Two Ends, a young boy named Yeats is thrust into a confusing and complicated set of circumstances during a visit to his grandmother’s home. The visit is part of a seemingly last ditch effort by his parents to heal their strained marriage.
Yeats’ father, William has returned to his boyhood home in the hopes of making peace with something that occurred when he was Yeats age, something that has haunted him for twenty years and is the root of his problems with his wife. For Yeats, it is the beginning of understanding his father, as well as a glimpse into a world that is beyond anything he has ever imagined.
When they arrive at his father’s boyhood home, Yeats is both anxious and intrigued. Anxious because of the effect that being there has on his father, and intrigued because of the variety of strangeness that he witnesses. From the odd old gentleman who lives upstairs to discovering that his father’s childhood friend, Shari (the old gentleman’s granddaughter) disappeared inexplicably from that very house twenty years ago – and that everything is connected to an old book in his grandmother’s vast library : The Arabian Nights: The Marvels and Wonders of a Thousand and One Nights.
Once it is clear to Yeats that the only way he can help his father is to retrace the path William and Shari took twenty years- to enter the story of The Arabian Nights , he sets out on a magical, astounding journey that he can hardly believe until he too is immersed in the story. He has one objective- to bring Shari back to the real world and prove his father is not crazy, thereby healing the rift between his parents, and setting everyone’s world right again. The task, while simple in theory, is fraught with pitfalls, complications, and unseen dangers. Much like the tale he has entered.
Ward does a wonderful job of weaving the classic tale with his own story. The pure magic of The Arabian Nights combined with the deliciously exciting notion of actually being able to transport yourself into the pages of your favorite book keeps you spellbound throughout.
This magic carpet ride is geared toward the young adult audience, but it will be a delight to all.
And don’t be surprised if Ward treats us to a sequel in the future, because this one just begs for it.
Review by Brenda Seward
Between Two Ends by David Ward released by Amulet, an imprint of Abrams Books is now available at your local independent bookstore & other retail outlets.