In a move reminiscent of several 80's teenage romcoms, Abel, upon finding Elma in serious financial straits, offers to pay her tuition for her, and in return, asks for ... coaching. Not in what to do with a girl once he's got one, but rather in how to attract their attention in the first place.
As the younger son, Abel's always been the one being ignored. As the small child, the one overlooked, and he's more than ready for all of that to change.
But that's about where the resemblance between this story and those comedies ends.This story isn't a funny one. Not only is Abel on a mission to find and keep a girl, but he's also on a mission to prove to his family, and to himself, that he should never have been ignored and denied opportunities the way he had been. He intends to prove that the only way they'll understand, with his fists and in a ring.
As a fighter, he goes by the the name Betta (a kind of fish more commonly known as a Siamese fighting fish) and its here that L.B. Dunbar does something rather unique. Not only does she use the betta as a metaphor for describing Abel, which wouldn't be remarkable at all, but she extends that metaphor right through the book, coming back to it again and again in different ways and drawing out different parallels. Further, she then goes and brings in other fish and ocean metaphors as if the lonesome betta wasn't enough and sprinkles them liberally through the book.
If that wasn't enough, the rather obvious biblical allusion to the sons of Adam, Cain and Abel is brought up, and in line with that, there's an assortment of biblical references and language used in key places, but what delighted me was that the characters were self aware. Abel knows his name will prompt people to think of the biblical story and he himself plays on that.
Metaphors aside, we have a rather dark, haunting story of a lost little boy striving to prove himself a man all the while pining after the girl who's never noticed him.
Meanwhile the girl is grasping at straws, trying to keep her head above water as, following the death of her older brother, her world crumbles around her. Not realizing what and who Abel is all she offers is misdirections, miscommunications, and misadventure never realizing that she's been Miss Perfect all along.
I just loved this book and am genuinely looking forward to the promised sequel Paradise Found: Cain
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 670 KB
- Print Length: 272 pages
- Publisher: L.B. Dunbar Writes Ltd. (25 January 2016)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B017V0VWVM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 30 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #271,535 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)