Friday, March 20, 2015

The Way To Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

The small town of Destiny Florida circa 1974 is the setting for this novel's events. During one long, hot summer Theo Thomas has moved to this small speck of a town  in the company of his Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War veteran. Theo has only heard stories about his uncle but unfortunately his reunion with his uncle is not a happy one. For one, Uncle Raymond has rules, lots of them. And perhaps most importantly he is very much against music and that includes playing the piano, something Theo loves to do.

At first Theo wishes he could go back to live with his grandparents in Kentucky. There he was adored and allowed to play the piano as much as he wanted. Destiny does have the advantage of being near the water however and he finds that is a good place to gather his thoughts.

Another thing that he can do to help with his homesickness is play baseball. He loves the sport and listens to as many games as he can, especially if Hank Aaron is playing. He finds another baseball fanatic- a classmate called Anabel. There is more to her than baseball though and she complicates his life in ways he could never have imagined.

Though not overtly discussed it seems that poor Uncle Raymond is suffering from some form of PTSD as he has nightmares and a very strange demeanor. He is a true soldier and he seems to have signed up for the mission of taking care of Theo more out of a sense of duty than from a genuine love for his nephew.

Theo has a genuine musical talent and in the book he finds someone who both recognizes this and encourages him to develop his gift. I am a firm advocate of music instruction as it can help kids in so many ways. I am glad that this book used music as a form of therapy for the male protagonist. I recommend this book for readers aged 8+. 

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