Recommended Audience: 6th grade and up
I just finished Andrew Klavan’s newest book, Nightmare City, and I realized I was remiss in not having up a review of The Last Thing I Remember.
I have mentioned through my reviews on here that I think conservatives need to focus more on the culture. For those that agree with me, Andrew Klavan is someone you must be following. Klavan is an award winning author, screenwriter, and media commentator. Two of his most notable works are True Crime and Don’t Say a Word, both of which were turned into movies. For anyone wanting to learn a little more about Klavan you can check out his website, http://www.andrewklavan.com/, and you also can read the interview that I conducted with him back in December 2012.
The Last Thing I Remember was Klavan’s first foray into young adult literature. It is the first book in the four book The Homelanders series. I admit the story is a bit over the top, some of the things that Charlie faces are a little unrealistic. It really doesn’t matter because this book is so adventurous and so much fun! It’s a real page turner!
At the beginning of the story Charlie West wakes up strapped to a chair. He has been tortured and battered and someone is about to kill him. Not to go out without a fight, Charlie manages to escape and begins his journey home. Along the way he faces many struggles and problems.
The reason I really like this book is the unapologetic, pro-American values that Charlie displays throughout the story. If you consider yourself a constitutionalist, then this kid is going to make you grin from ear to ear.
I loved this passage on p. 76:
“…this was the year I had to take calculus. It was insanely hard, and I worried it would wreck my grade point average. And if it didn’t, there was Mr. Sherman, my history teacher, to worry about. I thought he was out to get me because I argued with him him all the time, and a lot of the time I won. For instance, he stood up in class once and said all these nasty things about America. He said America was racist and violent and greedy. So I just got up and told him that he was wrong and that the facts proved him wrong. I told him, sure, people in America make mistakes because people everywhere make mistakes. But when you came right down to it, there was not one place on Earth where people had any freedom or dignity or human rights and America hadn’t helped it happen or helped it stay that way. I challenged him to name one place-one single place on Earth-and he couldn’t, because there isn’t one.”
We live in a time period where it seems popular to bash our own country. The left just loves to tell the narrative that makes us out to be nothing but villains. Our historical record is not perfect, we’ve made mistakes, but we still should be proud of all the good we have accomplished around the world. I’m glad to see a young adult novel that promotes these ideas in an accessible way. Young adult literature needs more author’s like Klavan.
(As a quick note, I have read the second and third books in this series. The second book, The Long Way Home I would rate a 4/5. There was a part of the story that went on for way too long. Unfortunately, it actually causes some of my students to abandon the series. The third book, The Truth of the Matter, is every bit as good as the first. I would give it a 5/5 star rating as well.)