Monday, November 27, 2017

The Curious Chronicles of Jack Bokimble and His Peculiar Penumbra by James Demonaco

The Curious Chronicles of Jack Bokimble and His Peculiar Penumbra by James Demonaco
Publisher: Inkshares
Format:  Ebook
Number of Pages: 200
Published:  November 7th, 2017
Source:  In exchange for an honest review, a review copy was received from the publisher.
Find it:  AmazonB&N, InksharesGoodreads

Opening Line:  "Three nights after he was born, Jack Bokimble came home from the hospital."

Synopsis from Publisher-Shortly after Jack is born, strange things are afoot in the Bokimble house--glasses fall from shelves, and nothing seems to be where Mr. and Mrs. Bokimble left it. Jack's parents begin to sense that there's something strange about their son, and it's not long before they realize that he has a secret friend: his magical shadow. 
Is Jack's shadow a superpower that he needs to control and master? Or is it a curse that will separate him from others? Travel with Jack on his boyhood journey as he learns not only how to control his magical shadow but what it means to be different--a story that mines the potential for magic and mystery in all of us.

My Thoughts
It's pretty hard to pass on a book with a title like The Curious Chronicles of Jack Bokimble and His Peculiar Penumbra, it's one of those books you know you just want to read.  The story takes the form of an adult telling a story to a young child with a Roald Dahl-like quality that I particularly enjoyed.   Jack lives with his parents in New York City, close to Central Park.  Jack's parents might be considered slightly peculiar by some.  His dad has a heightened sense of smell which comes in handy for his experiments to build a device called the Smelliluminator that if everything goes as planned will make smells visible and give them color.   Hopefully, he can also use it as an early warning detection system against his wife's propensity for flatulence when she gets nervous, and she gets nervous a lot.  Mrs. Bokimble runs a popular website where she helps people faced with an impossible choice to make the right decision called "I'llMakeTheDecsionsYouCan'"   Jack's parents also create descriptive nicknames for each other like"Mister Meaty Midsection" and "Lady Large Yet Lovely Nostrils," which changes with their mood for each other on a daily basis.  Despite his parents being a bit odd, Jack is a lovely character, he's bright, a tad shy and lonely, and he'd really like to have a friend.  I also really enjoyed Jack's magical shadow and appreciated that he tried to use his shadow to do good things.  At the beginning of the story,  Jack's parents are concerned about all the odd occurrences happening around their house, even thinking the place is haunted, but once they realize that it's Jack and his magical shadow, their opinion on whether this is a good or bad occurrence began to differ.  Mr. Bokimble only thought of the fame they could have, while Mrs. Bokimble was concerned that Jack would stand out, be seen as cursed and it could prevent him from having friends.  At one point she even considers getting rid of her son's shadow entirely, until Mr. Bokimble convinces her that he can teach Jack to control it by having him learn how to "shadow cast" and "shadow play."  Jack learns his shadow is indestructible and has no fear, while also learning the importance of controlling and concealing it from others.  At least that is until Jack finds it necessary to use his shadow to help put a bully in his place.  I really liked how Jack's shadow touched and interacted with things around him allowing him to physically feel them too.  Especially how Jack's shadow could reach into the animal cages at the zoo so he could pet them and provide them comfort.  Wouldn't that be cool to feel a lions fur without risking getting eaten?  For a fairly short book, it covered a wide range of themes from bullying, feeling different, wanting to belong and make friends and to be accepted for who you are.  There is some quirkiness with an interruptive narrator, a random chapter heading with Rodney Dangerfield in the title, mention of the Black Eyed Peas, and an alien named Gulmhot who inadvertently crash lands his ship at the zoo starting a fire, but it all just added to the charm of the story for me.  Plus, I really enjoyed the positive message of there's nothing wrong with being different and different can be ok. 

Favorite line, " Remember, live with your shadow, not behind it."  

1 comment:

  1. This sounds very unique. Definitely an interesting title! I like the message too. Thanks for sharing. :)