Book Review: Don’t Call Me Ishmael

I won’t lie – I stayed up until 2 AM to finish this book. It was beautiful. Everything about it was beautiful, but what stuck out to me most was the author’s voice.

Here is what is says on the inside cover of the book:

By the time ninth grade begins, Ishmael Leseur knows it won’t be long before Barry Bagsley, the class bully, says, “Ishmael? What kind of wussy-crap name is that?” Ishmael’s perfected the art of making himself virtually invisible. But all that changes when James Scobie joins the class. Unlike Ishmael, James has no sense of fear – he claims it was removed during an operation.

Now nothing will stop James and Ishmael from taking on bullies, bugs, and Moby Dick, in the toughest, weirdest, most embarrassingly awful… and best year of their lives.

This book did everything a book is supposed to do. I laughed at all the funny parts. When Ishmael was embarrassed, I was squirming in my seat because I felt uncomfortable, too. And when he succeeded, I wanted to cheer for him.

But I think the biggest compliment to the author is the fact that I stayed up so late reading it! I had a decent chunk of the book left to read, but I knew I had to finish it that same night… THIS is what a book should do. And it’s been a long time since I felt this way about any book.

Was it perfect? Of course not. To be honest, I had a little bit of trouble getting into it at the beginning. But once I got into it, the author’s voice was so strong that any other fault could have been overlooked.

If you’re looking for something entertaining, quick, and beautiful, I would recommend Don’t Call Me Ishmael. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Nature of Change

Because of the ridiculous number of spam comments I’ve been getting lately, my brother helped me install a plugin that will hopefully prove to be a successful spam blocker. Now, when you leave a comment, you have to answer a simple math problem (I know, I know – I don’t like math either, but hopefully it will solve my spam problem).

Unfortunately, the previous theme of my site was not compatible with the spam protection plugin, so I was forced to change the theme. I’ve pretty much decided on this one, but I might experiment with some other ones too – so don’t be surprised if this site looks different the next time you visit!

Feel free to comment if you like my current theme, as it’s the one I’m leaning towards at the moment.

Beyond that, although I am a creature of habit and probably one of the most averse-to-change human beings on the planet, even I will admit that change is good sometimes. It might even be good most of the time. At any rate, we can’t deny that it is inevitable.

So many changes happen in the course of a lifetime, whether they’re small changes (like changing clothes, changing a hairstyle, changing the theme of a blog) or big things (like moving to a new house or starting a new job).

Even if you sat in a room and refused to initiate any sort of change or try anything new, you’d still be affected by external changes. Your body would change as you grew older. You wouldn’t be able to change the weather. What if a tsunami or earthquake took place? That would be a major change, and if you were in the area you’d be affected.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure where I’m going with this post. I think I’m writing it more for myself than anything else. I’ll admit that I’ve sat in my room and wished that I could stay a kid all my life. I’ve sat in the garden and wished that I could sit there forever. I look back on my best memories and wish I could go back in time and stay in those moments forever. I’ve thought to myself so many times that life is pushing me forward too quickly, and I’m just not ready to be an adult!

There’s obviously nothing I can do to stop it. And I think if I could just learn to embrace change, I’d be fine. Because there’s this other part of me that’s looking forward to being able to do things I can’t do right now, to being independent, to going to college, and to actually starting my life!

I don’t know about you, but I think there’s a balance between reflecting on the past and looking forward. There’s nothing wrong with looking back on fond memories or learning from past mistakes… but I guess it’s important not to get caught up in them and start yearning for things to stay the same.

Change is inevitable. I think once we accept this fact, it’s easier to realize that  things don’t need to stay the same… we’ll move forward in life and we’ll make new memories. We might have done something great before, but we’ll move on and do even greater things.

And finally, to end with one of my favorite quotes:

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” 🙂