RE-RELEASED IN 2015
- Young Adult novel
by David A Poulsen
- Winner of the Sakura Medal (Reader's Choice Award) in Japan
* Quill & Quire Review
|Numbers - Reviewed by Gordon Osmond of BookPleasures.com
| By Gordon Osmond l Published March 14, 2016 l GENERAL FICTION REVIEWS
Author: David A. Poulsen
Publisher: Dundurn, Toronto
ISBN: 978-1-4597-3248-3 (pbk.).—ISBN 978-1-4597-3255-1 (pdf).--ISBN 978-1-4597-3256-8 (epub)
We’re told that one of the missions of art is to hold up a mirror to the audience, be it reader, viewer, or listener. If you don’t recognize yourself in David Poulsen’s delightful and incisive account of Andy “Alamo” Crockett’s senior high school years spent at Parkerville Comprehensive, you should check yourself out for vampirism.
The school is not the only thing that’s “comprehensive.” With lean and telling prose, we are treated to a full portrait of Andy, his close and distant classmates, his girl friends, his family, and, perhaps most critically, his relationship with his favorite school teacher.
But what does Andy do? Where’s the conflict and the intensity? At first there’s a rather low-voltage story about Andy’s flat tire(s). Although even this somewhat tiresome tale is spiced up a bit before it ends, the reader hopes that that is not all there is.
And indeed, it is not. From that point on, the story moves to Andy’s relationship with his charismatic, anti-Semitic “dream” teacher. This is the spine that gives “Numbers” its gravitas. Its resolution is enormously satisfying, and its final line is as shocking as it is inspiring.
David Poulsen is a wonderful writer. His sense of the comic potential of both understatement and hyperbole pleases on almost every page. His metaphors and similes are fresh and refreshing. The book’s relatively few editing indiscretions are readily overlooked.
Both as a nostalgic reminder of one’s high school years and an inspiration to think thoroughly, independently, and compassionately, Numbers should be very close to number one on your reading list.
Reviewer Gordon Osmond: Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.
He has reviewed books and stageplays for
and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking here
Gordon can also be heard on the Electic Authors Showcase.
BUSY TIMES INDEED ...
2015 was memorable on several levels. First there was the months spent as a juror for the Governor General’s Children’s Book Award. Reading and assessing 148 books in 155 days was, quite frankly, one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever undertaken. At the same time, however, it was tremendously rewarding. Having the opportunity to encounter so many amazing books by an equally amazing group of Canadian Writers of Children’s books made me realize how fortunate we are in Canada to be surrounded by such gifted and dedicated literary artists. My fellow jurors, Jan Coates and Rachna Gilmore and I met in Ottawa and worked long and hard before finally coming to a decision. And congratulations to Caroline Pignat who was the recipient of the GG for her wonderful, The Gospel Truth.
As the year wore on, I was delighted to see my teen novel Numbers return to print. After the novel won the Sakura Medal (Reader’s Choice Award) in Japan, it disappeared when Key Porter Books closed its doors. So, needless to say, I’m so glad that Numbers has not only returned but did so with a vengeance, as a large order from Barnes and Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the US, meant that a second printing had to be ordered before the first one was even in the warehouse.
The latter months of 2015 and the first few in 2016 have been busy ones, to say the least. I finished my Middle Reader novel, And Then the Sky Exploded and delivered the completed manuscript to Dundurn at the end of December, and the book will appear in September of this year. The book goes back and forth between modern day North America as seen through the eyes of the central character, Christian Deaver, and the hours and days immediately after the detonation of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in August of 1945.
I then turned my attention to completing the second book in the Cullen and Cobb crime novel series. After the success of Serpents Rising, I signed with Dundurn for Books 2, 3 and 4. The second title in the series, Dead Air, will be in bookstores in January of 2017. As a longtime lover of mysteries, this is something I have always wanted to do and I’m delighted that it’s finally happening and that readers appear to be taking to the series.
And switching hats for a moment, 2015 was a time of wonderful and unexpected surprises through my work as a rodeo and bull riding announcer and commentator. In September, I received the Glen Keeley Memorial Ring at the Stavely PBR Bull Riding. Such an honour to receive an award bearing the name of a longtime, special friend and amazing bull riding talent who we lost far too soon.
Then, in November, at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, I was genuinely dumbfounded to receive the Douglas Lake Ranch Cowboy of the Year Award. The surprise, the pride and the absolute joy I felt at being the first announcer to receive the award was indescribable and it was a moment I will truly never forget.
With spring in the air, there are rodeos to get, more books to write, miles to run and horses to ride…and, most importantly, a wonderful family to spend time with. I guess it’s not surprising that I’m really excited at what the rest of 2016 has in store.
We’ll talk again, soon.
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Website updated March, 2016