By: Phillip B. Chute
Publication Date: December 2018
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2020
Subtitled, “The Adventures of Charles, Transforming a Precocious Boy into a Young Man,” this amazing book is truly one no reader will ever forget. Now, yes, those who read reviewers know I am a sucker for YA/Teen books. Why? Because, quite frankly, for the past two decades this category has produced some of the finest authors and coolest reads “gifted” to people who love fantasy, adventure, and being able to get away from the “mess” and chaos that the world has to offer. This book is no exception.
Here, we head to New England (my own home turf as a youth) in the year 1946 – a time when everyone was recovering from a much different time of chaos that WWII brought down upon the world. Charles is the boy we meet and get to know well during this tale. He is nine years old and, let us just say, has that problem many of us had when it comes to trying to fit in with our peers. It’s not easy for Charles. And when it comes to family, his father is away so much for work that the young boy doesn’t have that mentor figure to help him out. The upside for Charles is Mary Anne, who happens to be his best friend. Mary is the “ear” that listens to Charlie’s hopes, fears, daydreams, etc.
The time comes when Charles is given an opportunity of sorts. His father is headed out on yet another trip, but Charles is going to come along. They head to Canada – his father’s hometown – in a rural area where he will spend time on the family farm. But Charles is not only going to have his eyes opened a bit, he’s also going to come away from the experience with a greater understanding of his own father. Learning about how his dad had to deal with being raised during The Great Depression, his respect for his father grows with the newfound knowledge.
One day, an adventure comes along for Charles when he and his cousin head out for the day to explore. Looking forward to having fun, the day turns more than a bit dark when an element of danger crops up that forces Charles to use his knowledge and his huge heart, not to mention the strength that lives inside him passed down from his father, in order to get out of a mess.
This book explores trying times, the aches and pains of growing up and fitting in, the ability to learn and understand others who you feel may have disappointed you—only to learn that they have actually battled and struggled through their own life and have their own secrets they wish not to reveal.
Mary Anne is an awesome friend and everyone should have one; she instills confidence in Charles and helps him through tough times. This is a truly beautiful “presentation,” so to speak, of a boy’s younger days that readers of all ages will relate to. Yet again, YA/Teen reads hits it out of the ballpark.
Quill says: An emotional tale perfectly balanced with adventure.
For more information on The Metric Clock, please visit the author's website at: www.phillipbchute.com