I'd love to meet the team behind the choices for Amazon Encore and shake them warmly by the hand. I've read three in this series, which is chosen by the Amazon team as 'unsung beauties' basically. They may not have had the publicity when first published that they so richly deserve, but my goodness, the writing quality is outstanding.
This is an incredibly dense book, that is full of well researched and obviously cherished references to the original book. Whilst 'The Catcher in the Rye' is a real American classic, I must admit that I have little fondness for it. We're reading it for our book group choice this month, and I have realised I like it no more now than I did at school. However, this work by Honenberger gave me a lot more understanding of some of the themes of the original, and also made me think a lot more about Holden's motivations and decisions. I had more affection for it after reading this book, and I even wanted to re-read it, despite only recently finishing it!
Whilst it is dense, at no point does this book feel hard going or self-important in the way some literary offerings do. It is a rich adventure that grabs you by the hand and invites you into a young boy's journey through illness and the mudane. I loved the line near the start that explained how he felt he was 'boring before he got leukaemia'. People wanted to talk about him, but not to him. It is an insightful and uncomfortable exploration of how an acute illness turns your life upside down, and social rules abadon him.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Whilst originally written to awaken a new generation of teenagers to the delights of Holden's exploits in the original novel, this is a truly inspired book that deserves a wide audience. And if you're struggling for new things to read off the beaten track of popular chart fiction, you could do far worse than to search for Amazon Encore.