Thursday, March 1, 2018

Book Review: 'Six Points of Light' by Kalynn Bayron

Colorado author Kalynn Bayron, born in Kansas, moved to Alaska where she studied music and dance at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She continues to be involved in the three fields of writing, singing and dancing. She now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Of particular interest for this her third novel (other novels are VEGAN-SCHMEEGAN! and THE ZERO ANTIGEN THEOREM) Kalynn states she `became fascinated with the backstories of some of the beloved characters in literature, particularly the villains. She began to picture what their lives must have been like and questioned if the fairy tales we hear as children were really all there was to it. She decided to commit to paper the story of one of the most fearsome characters in all of children's literature, Captain James Hook. While working out the details of the plot, Kalynn realized that she had much more than a simple origin story. She had the opportunity to delve into the mind of a villain where she found that maybe, just maybe, we have been wrong about Captain Hook from the beginning.'

With a refreshing idea such as Kalynn we are invited to once again enter the world of fairy tales - but on an adult level of appreciation. Is there anyone who has not either read or seen the stage play or the film of Peter Pan? Likely not. And with every variation of the tale - written, musical comedy on stage, or Disney film - the epitome of evil is Captain Hook. Kalynn asks, why is he perceived this way, or better yet, what brought him to this position in the story? With an almost classic mode of writing not unlike novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie who created Peter Pan, a mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, spending his never-ending childhood having adventures on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with the evil Captain Hook, mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside Neverland.

Now Kalynn asks us to consider the follow alternative concept for the character of Captain Hook: `St. Catherine's is a place for misfits, for the forgotten, and it is also the only home James Cook has ever known. Abandoned on the front steps as an infant, James is raised by Sister Maddie who loves him like the mother he never knew. Growing up at St. Catherine's, James battles one illness after another, and spends most of his time in the infirmary. One night, a young boy is delivered to St. Catherine's in the arms of his distraught mother. The boy, Peter, is mischievous and James tries his hardest to stay as far away from him, and his band of merry followers, as possible. The younger boys at St. Catherine's are drawn to the charismatic Peter, but James, being older and in his humble opinion, wiser, is not recruited so easily. As the two become more closely acquainted, Peter reveals to James that he has a secret. This secret will turn James' life upside down and set he and Peter on a collision course with destiny in that far of place known to children and dreamers - Neverland. Before he was Captain Hook, he was simply James Cook, and as it turns out, he was not such a dastardly villain after all. Join some of the most beloved characters in literature as their roots are laid bare and the truth of their humble beginnings is revealed.'

This is a book of charm, invention, recreation of all the beloved make-believe characters of Peter Pan with a glorious infusion of the traits of the life experiences of loss, betrayal, grief and love shaping these characters in a fashion even more lovingly than J.M. Barrie's original. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.