Saturday, December 16, 2017

PEARL by Brian Kindall - Fascinating Middle/YA/Adult!

Yes, she said softly. I am a pretty girl
and my name is Pearl...
THE GIRL DIDN'T REALIZE when her dream had ended. She didn't notice that the night was over and that the darkness was giving way to the light in the water all around her. The difference between what was real, and what was dream, was so blurry in her fretful mind that she didn't understand that she was no longer in the world of her imagination. And so, since she had no memory of ever having seen a boat, when the shadow of a skiff appeared on the surface of the sea, she assumed it was merely one more unusual piece of her troubled dream. She watched with trepidation, not knowing what to expect, but seems in her belief that this experience was still only a dream. A large rock dropped over the side of the boat. The coiled line that was wrapped around the rock, and fastened to the boat at the other end, stretched out straight as the weight plunged through the water. The rock thumped with a puff of sand as it struck the floor of the sea. The tiny boat tossed in the waves, held in place at the end of the tether. 
Then the most extraordinary thing happened. A creature, unlike any the girl had ever seen, splashed into the waves beside the boat. The light glimmered behind the creature so that at first it appeared as just a gangly silhouette. The girl watched its four oddly-shaped tentacles sprawl and wave. The creature gathered itself and, bending in half, it reached down and began pulling awkwardly into the depths. From where she watched, at an angle leaning slightly back, the creature appeared to be swimming directly toward the girl's outstretched hand. Of course there was no way she could hide. There was no way she could curl her hand into a fist and hold it out of sight. In all her life, the girl had never felt so glaringly white and obvious. 


By Brian Kindall

This is a fascinating, memorable book--one that keeps you thinking about it. For our children, it is an amazing adventure. One that I think they will enjoy. But also adults? Parents? There is much to be considered in this story...
Do you encourage your children to read, to dream, to imagine? While I was reading this fantasy, I kept thinking about having the faith of a mustard seed...for surely Pearl did...

Pearl is our main character, made of stone. She has lived under the sea for hundreds of year. Though made of stone, she is able to see what is around her, hear, and think... Up until our story begins, the only living creatures around her were creatures of the sea. Although she didn't know the names of what she saw, she had learned of the difference between night and day since darkness surrounded her most of the time. Only when the sun shown brightly down through the sea could she really see and appreciate the beauty in which she lived... She loved the little yellow minnows who she thought of as friends and decided they must be pieces of the sun, that beautiful light that was the same color as the little fish which came up to her, swimming around her. 

She had been content for so long, but new feelings had been discovered when she saw large shadows on the surface, above her. She was afraid. But, more, she began to feel a longing... She wanted something more than she had...

And then the day came when a young boy came out of something sitting on top of the water and he began to come close...closer... But she could not move, she could not hide...

The creature kicked closer.
Within the pit of her solar plexus the girl felt a struggle of emotions. In one sense, she hadn't been so scared since the passing of the Shadow. In another way, she was simply curious to know how this surreal moment would end.
The creature kicked closer and closer, until it was floating in the water directly before her.
It hovered for a time, staring at her.
The girl glimpsed the reflection of her own face peering back at herself from the creature's dark shining eyes.
Then the creature reached out with one of its tentacles.
That was when the girl could see that it wasn't a tentacle after all, or even a flipper. That's when she realized that this creature had a hand - two hands! - much like her own.
With one of its hands, the creature gently grasped the girl's, lightly squeezing her fingers.
A small shock of electricity shot through her.
And with that the girl realized this wasn't a dream after all.

The boy introduced himself as Niko and went on further to explain that everybody called him Diving Boy. He proudly told her that he was now, after many years, the greatest diver in all of the Aegean Sea. He asked for the girl's name and then realized that she would not respond... Niko told her she was a pretty girl and then decided to call her Pearl, after his mother. Strange, fluttery feelings were developing inside of Pearl, the stone girl...

And after getting some rope from his boat, Niko pulled her up, out of the sea and to the surface, where the sun felt hot on her least that's what Niko told her as he directed his skiff toward a place only he knew about, inside of a mountain and there in a grotto, Pearl and Niko spent much time as Niko visited often to talk to her...

But Diving Boy grew older, while Pearl remained a girl... He had met a young woman and planned their marriage...the only treasure he had to sell...was Pearl...

Thankfully, the man who bought her appreciated her artistic value. In fact, he had already acquired two other statues... Pearl learned that Hero was one of them, while Sage, who became her teacher and mentor, was an elder man who had learned much and was quite willing to teach Pearl when she begged him to help her...

Pearl learned fast, but long before she had learned enough, it happened...

Pearl was once again alone, but there was always somebody who saw her beauty and wanted to save it...

Readers will become enchanted with the adventure woven around a stone girl who became Pearl... But for Pearl, what was happening was that she was learning more and more, yet...yearning for even more...

Still, the climax caught me off guard, even though I was thinking of how the book might end. The pace of the book is slow, more to allow what is happening and being learned to take primary place for Pearl, then the actual adventure that seems to "happen" to her. You might say that she hadn't yet learned that sometimes asking for what you want doesn't always work out! 

Dreams play an interesting part in the book and could lead to children trying to better remember their dreams and how they might be used to consider what is happening in their lives. Another possibility is that a shy child might find that being silent may be something they want to learn to get over and to begin to interact with others, even if they, too, are isolated and separated from others... In fact, all that came to mind as I read is far more than I am able to include in this review... The book is intriguing, yes, but it is also a lovely story in many ways... This would be an exceptional book to read together, even if separately, and talk to your child about what he finds of most interest... You might be surprised... Do check it out--maybe a stocking stuffer!!!


As a young man, Brian Kindall was undone by love. Oh, was she ever divine! Dark hair. Blue eyes. The smile of an angel. But then it all fell to ruin. For years afterward, the broken-hearted sap spent his time wandering about and scribbling self-absorbed tragedies that no one really cared about. His prose was impeccable, but useless to the world. Then one day, as if by magic, he matured. He peered into the abyss, became a father, got some perspective, and has been writing nothing but brilliant, entertaining novels ever since. These books - some for kids, some for grown-ups - are brimming with the absurdity, beauty, and mystery of life. Mister Kindall has become a master at playing humor against pathos, fairytales against reality, all for the sake of a good read that will surely enhance the life of any reader lucky enough to delve into the author's adventure-laden pages.

He is the author of adult fiction novel DELIVERING VIRTUE, a Foreword Reviews 2015 IndieFab Book of the Year Finalist, and middle grade novels BLUE SKY, and PEARL. Moving, memorable fiction all. 

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