Review of ‘The Spark’ by Trevor Stubbs.
Matador, pb, £8.95
Reviewed by Ann Mair
The author is a talented storyteller, writing in a niche market. Overtly religious this is the fourth in a sequence called White Gates Adventures. Rather than a single story, there are a string of short stories linked by theological discussions resembling those of a young persons’ evening classes run by a minister or priest. Each story is sparked by the call to service by the appearance of a white gate. The service needed resembles the peace corps if I have understood correctly. He quotes ‘The more the darkness squeezes the brighter shines the spark’.
This book is dedicated to ‘the people who live in the darkness of poverty, war, hunger and fear – wherever they live in the world. Against all expectation, many of them shine as beacons of hope when all around them is destruction. Although subject to hatred and exploitation, they continue to share the reality of love and forgiveness. May we all be inspired by such as these.’
The stories reflect problems of the here and now in this world and new worlds. There is a danger that it may date, technology moves so fast these days. Some readers are likely to reject the book as preaching to the Christian themes is strongly apparent. This is a pity as the writing is well crafted and the characters are likeable. The book is a fast read, large print. I would expect many readers to skip sections not part of the narrative, whatever the intentions of the writer. There are also themes reflecting the young adult genre of beginning love, growing up, and happy endings. I like a happy ending. It is probably going to appeal to librarians in schools as a suitable book to add to their collections. It boasts that it addresses the problems of mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder and identity. I actually didn’t notice this much but I think it could be used as inspiring class discussions on a wide variety of issues if a book was needed to begin a springboard. I have noticed that set books are frequently in groups such as war, history etc.; this book deals in ethics.
I will pass it on, for me, it is a once-read-then-done-with book, however, I was not expecting to, but I actually enjoyed this book.