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The Tattered Box Paperback – 16 December 2016
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About the Author
- Publisher : Paul Schumacher (16 December 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 270 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0997955309
- ISBN-13 : 978-0997955309
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 1.73 x 21.59 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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John is a typical teenager in that he has heard all of his grandfather Bill’s stories before, and gets irritated when he brings them up time and time again. One day Bill brings out a box of old objects, treasures to him but a bore to John. A little later John goes to play in a baseball game and gets clocked in the head by a ball. When he wakes up he is in 1941 and has assumed the body of a youngster named John who is friends with Bill. As the war approaches, John and Bill share many events and John learns why the objects have become treasures.
So many people are guilty of brushing aside the older generation’s tales with excuses of “it’s not relevant in modern life” or “we’ve heard it all before” without realising that this was actually part of a person’s life and that one day we will do the same. John learned what it was like to have a father, to be faced with an uncertain future and to deal with death, as well as enjoy the simpler things in life. I did find it strange that he was only a little worried about going back in time and just assumed it would be ok to take over this person’s life for an indeterminate amount of time. The writing was a little too “articulate” for the time period too considering John was only 18. His dialogue or emotions attributed to him were often too mature like “She barely acknowledged me, yet her posture did not portray rudeness” or “Yet she bore a noticeably fraught anxiety on her face.”
Overall I enjoyed how John was able to see his grandfather as a person and participate in some of the experiences that made him who he was. We have a lot to learn from others and while we are prone to try and bring in our own experiences, sometimes we must just quieten down and absorb.
John's single-parent family includes his mom, his sister, and his grandpa. The story kicks off when Grandpa gives him an old, musty box of his treasured mementos, perhaps a lavish chest of diamonds and gold, John crassly thinks, but that was not meant to be. Instead, when he opens it, to his disappointment John discovers a rather mundane, random collection of this and that amounting to little of the value he had hoped for. He eventually comes to know that the box's contents are far more important than what he sought.
One day in the present, John and his friends are playing a pick-up baseball game among neighborhood kids when a line drive smacks him square in the head. It is then when this reaching-an-understanding narrative really begins. John awakens back in 1941 and soon learns that he is his teenage grandpa's best buddy.
What ensues is a series of episodes involving the two of them and their friends, as John uncovers the significance of each of the mementos from the tattered box. The stories are emotionally compelling and meaningful, as they follow one after the other in Grandpa's soft, touching memories. A mitten! An eagle feather! A toothpick! Those and the other keepsakes provide the basis for an awakening in John as he learns what could not be expressed but what was always unspoken in Grandpa's stories, that the things that really matter are not what they may initially appear to be.
The Tattered Box is a wonderful read that prompts us to consider what mementos in our lives we would gather to tell our stories, in our sunset years, of how we all got there. Skillfully, the author ends one chapter with a hint of something happening next that compels the reader to keep the book in his hands and move on without delay. And so the story delivers, again and again, until it ends and he mutters silently to himself,