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My Vacation in Hell
 
 

My Vacation in Hell [Kindle Edition]

Gene Twaronite

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Product Description

Product Description

My Vacation in Hell is a young adult dark fantasy, written in first person narrative by a 15-year-old writer named John Boggle. The time period is the mid-1960’s. A troubled nerdy misfit and a frequent flyer of his imagination, John is inspired by a book report reading of Dante Alighieri’s the Inferno. In the eternity of the five minutes before summer vacation, he embarks on a pilgrimage based upon his own free-wheeling interpretation of the work.
Following Dante's lead, John populates his hell with all the people who have wronged him over the years, inventing deliciously cruel punishments for each of them in his teenage version of cosmic retribution. Aided by his best friend Virgil, a trusty guide in this shared imagination, John also struggles to come to terms with the world’s many evils. And as he descends further into this realm, he constructs his own hierarchy of evildoers, assigning them to the levels he believes they deserve.
But it is the evil perpetrated upon John, a victim of sexual abuse, which poses the most difficult challenge for him. The deeper he goes, the more he encounters obstacles, some of whom in the guise of colorful demon characters try their best to keep him there. But the worst obstacle of all is his own self-image, forged out of guilt and shame. He will not leave this hell of his own making, Virgil tells him, until he learns how to deal with the evil done to him and finds the true center of his being.
Fortunately, he has other help besides the ever wise Virgil, who it turns out has a few problems of his own to deal with. John needs more than reason to get him through this, and divinely beautiful aid arrives in the form of Beth, an idealized version of his secret love. Rescuing the pair from the evil that threatens to consume them, she will guide John in the last stage of his spiritual odyssey. She shows him that there are even some good places in Hell, just as there is always some good, however slight, that comes from our worst experiences. Though of necessity a darkly disturbing tale, it delivers a message of hope with a large dose of humor.

About the Author

Gene Twaronite is an Arizona author whose fiction has been published in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies, including Avatar Review, Fast Forward Press, Forge, Highlights for Children, Heinemann, and Read (Weekly Reader). He is also the author of the middle grade novel The Family That Wasn’t—the prequel to My Vacation in Hell. The author first introduced the theme of sexual abuse in his previous novel. “I felt compelled,” he explains, “to help my character John resolve his issues. I tried to imagine as best I could the horror experienced by a sexual abuse victim and how he might deal with it. It is my hope that in some small way my novel helps to address the needs of all who seek to find their own way out of hell." For more information about the book, go to: http://www.myvacationinhell.com

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 247 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1470003031
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0071F017Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,005,546 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Early on in his writing career, Gene realized that he was the sort of person so aptly described in an essay by E.B. White ("Some Remarks on Humor") for whom there is a constant "danger of coming to a point where something cracks within himself or within the paragraph under construction--cracks and turns into a snicker." Dealing with this "uninvited snicker" has been the story of his life.
Indeed, Gene tends to see the absurd in every situation. That might explain why his favorite quote by Albert Camus now hangs over his writing desk: "The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth."
His fiction has been published by Avatar Review, Fast Forward Press, Forge, Highlights for Children, Heinemann, Mouse Tales Press, Weekly Reader, and The Write Room.
Gene 's first novel, "The Family That Wasn't," was written in 1990 when he lived in Providence, RI. Inspired by some of James Thurber's stories about wacky family members, Gene created in his novel a family so impossibly crazy that the teenage main character cannot stand living with them another moment. More information about this middle grade fantasy can be found at the author's Web site (http://www.thefamilythatwasnt).
Gene's second novel, "My Vacation in Hell," is the sequel to his earlier novel. Geared for young adults, it is a dark comic fantasy of a young man's journey through hell. Set in the mid-1960s, it is narrated by a 15-year-old writer and victim of sexual abuse. More information about the book can be found at the author's Web site: (http://www.myvacationinhell.com).
A former teacher and university instructional specialist, Gene now lives in Arizona.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good read 3 Oct 2013
By Joycedale - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've never read Dante's Inferno so I'm not sure how much this resembles it. John after doing a book report on Dante starts imagining what all the bad people in his life, especially "Uncle Vinnie" would deserve done to them. Somehow this leads to him being lead through hell by his best friend who is on his thrid trip there. They travel though the nine levels with occasional help from a monk only to reach the last level and face their own demons, which strangely are very similar.
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful messages through a humorous journey through Hell 15 Mar 2013
By Regina Niesen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Book Description- My Vacation in Hell is a humorous young adult fantasy. Set in the mid-1960's, it is told in the first person narrative by a 15-year old writer named John Boggle. A troubled nerdy misfit and a frequent flyer of his imagination, John is inspired by a book report reading of Dante Alighieri's the Inferno. In the eternity of the five minutes before summer vacation, he embarks on a pilgrimage based upon his own free-wheeling interpretation of the work.

Following Dante's lead, John populates his hell with all the people who have wronged him over the years, inventing deliciously cruel punishments for each of them in his teenage version of cosmic retribution. Aided by his best friend Virgil, a trusty guide in this shared imagination, John also struggles to come to terms with the world's many evils. And as he descends further into the realm, he constructs his own hierarchy of evildoers, assigning them to the levels he believes they deserve.

But it is the evil perpetuated upon John, a victim of sexual abuse, which poses the most difficult challenge for him. The deeper he goes, the more he encounters obstacles, some of whom in the guise of colorful demon characters try their best to keep him there. But the worst obstacle of all is his own self-image, forged out of guilt and shame. He will not leave this hell of his own making, Virgil tells him, until he learns how to deal with the evil inflicted upon him and finds the true center of his being. Though disturbing at times due to its mature theme, My Vacation in Hell delivers a message of hope with a large dose of humor.

I received this book as a gift from a book club member and I have to say I was a little hesitant to read it and unsure why my fellow club member chose this book to gift to me when it seems like not only a strange topic but genre choice. I cast this book off to the side and only decided to read it because it was a short book that matched a reading challenge requirement that I needed to fill. I honestly thought I would just skim through the book quickly and not find anything interesting about it. Well let's just say that I definitely judged a book by its cover! This book was nothing at all what I expected and it had much more substance and message than I thought a less than 200 page YA novel about hell could possible contain.

John comes from a strange family which doesn't have much structure and seems to do a lot of daydreaming in class. At the onset of the book, John comes across as a strange character and pretty quirky. It is five minutes before the bell rings for summer vacation and he begins thinking about a recent book report that he took upon himself over Dante's Inferno. His daydream quickly takes him into a dramatic and colorful imagination of what hell would be like to him. In his dream, he enters hell with his good friend Virgil who will guide him through the 9 levels of hell obviously alluding to other classic literature.

As they travel through the levels of hell Virgil describes to him who inhabits each level and what eternal punishment these inhabitants are subject too. The author is definitely making a statement about the present world and the different kinds of "sins" that are being committed here on Earth. There is a place for people who don't care about anyone but themselves, including bullies and people only out for themselves, to corporate giants who strip the Earth of its resources by stripping the world of trees, to pollutants, to illegal hunters who kill of entire species of animals. There is also a place for all of the different kinds of killers. From killing in a loose sense of degrading people and "killing" their soul to killers who kill in cold blood for their own pleasure. Also leaving room for killers who think they can justify their actions. As John and Virgil travel through hell, the author is able to make his message clear about what he thinks is wrong with the world.

The last level of hell Virgil describes is different for every person. It is the level of hell that contains whatever sin or wrongdoing that is the worst possible in the minds of each individual who travels there. For John, that is his Uncle Vinnie, who sexually abused him for several years while living with his family. Virgil explains that for the last level each person is on their own to face down their personal evils and it is up to the individual to find a way out. So Virgil leaves John on his own as he faces down the three headed monster of his Uncle. At first John doesn't think he can make it. He has spent so much of his life trying to bury his memories and feelings that he doesn't think he can face what has happened to him again and fears being stuck in hell forever. However, as John literally faces what has happened to him in the "Harsh Reality of Light" he must either come to the decision to let go of his guilt and shame and find his true self or be stuck in hell forever.

This was a book that I felt needed a review because I am willing to bet not many people have heard of this book....and I think that it is a novel worth the read. It contains a powerful message of the state of our world and about how we as individuals must learn to find our true selves even when tragic events have taken place. The author handles these messages through the eyes and narration of children and is able to insert some humor into some terrible situations, but the humor works. It isn't sick or demented humor but humor seen through the eyes of teenage boys which helps lighten up such heavy content.

So all in all, this book was a great surprise to me! I went in expecting one thing but came away with a strong message and definite understanding of why the author wrote the book. I highly recommend this little known book. My hopes are that this review makes just one person take a look at this off the beaten path book and to come away with the feelings and inspiration that the book gave to me. 5 stars!
5.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining read 27 Aug 2012
By Sara Kelleher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Once I picked it up, I didn't want to stop! Its such an entertaining story on a topic that I have never read much about before. After getting home from work, I'd think to myself, "Hmm what should I do now, oh I know! I'll read my hell book!" It became my own little hell trip, too, in a good way. I haven't read Dante's Inferno but, after this book, I really want to. This book made the concept of hell so interesting and entertaining that I want to keep going!

The main character, John, is portrayed extremely well through his first-person narrative and through his best friend and hell travel companion, Virgil. Their friendship and back-and-forth banter is so raw and relatable and really makes the story that much more comical and addicting. It also contrasted well with the dark theme of traveling through hell.

I highly recommend this book for the sheer entertainment of a quick, comical and spooky read.
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting adventure through hell 7 Aug 2012
By xkrissio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book's main characters are John, and Virgil. They take a trip through hell after John decides to do a report on Dante's Inferno. While daydreaming five minutes before summer vacation start John enters hell. What is hell really like when you can put all your bullies in their own places? Throughout the nine zones of hell John and Virgil see their own bullies being tortured in ways that serve them right for all they have done while encountering a monk that helps them through hell . Both hiding their own problems/secret at zone nine Virgil and John are split up - they must take their own path "write their own story" at this point. Do they both make it out? Is this really just John's imagination or is he really stuck in hell?

This is a different genre from what I am used to reading and I could not put this book down! With only 187 pages this book is a quick read that you will not be able to put down. It's filled with an action packed adventure through hell that will make you not want to put the book down until you are finished!
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny YA take on a classic 5 May 2012
By Jade E - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the Twaronite's second novel and it skips ahead two years when John Boggle is 15. Not only does his age set him up so that is novel feels more YA, but the title alone seems to fit in well with YA themes.

The Good: This was QUITE a change from The Family that Wasn't yet Twaronite's humor and voice shined through on this novel as well. The dark nature of this novel immediately set itself apart from his first novel as the main character deals with some hefty issues. Retribution, sexual abuse, cruelty, hope and inspiration all come into play in this novel. John is facing some really tough decisions and I think Twaronite guides him seamlessly through the obstacles in this novel. I love that the novel is based partially on Dante's Inferno but that a lot of it is also the way John interprets and depicts Dante's Inferno that influences his own personal "hell." I think the tough situations and issues are handled wonderfully by Twaronite and I would highly recommend young adults read this book.

The Bad: Nothing too negative to say, there were a few dialogue passages that I felt were out of character and jolted me out of the reading but otherwise, the book was wonderful.

I give this one an A too!

**I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions are my own and I was not obligated to write a favorable review.
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