Friday, June 8, 2018

Book Review: 'Driehoek' by Bradley Charbonneau

Author Bradley Charbonneau has published several children’s books and travel books, but in his ‘self-help’ genre he unveiled his own secrets for making life meaningful and successful. He wisely asked entrepreneur John Muldoon to provide a forward introduction to his work. John’s credentials include Founder of Monthly Experiments Project – ‘to help people make lasting changes in their lives by taking on 1-month personal challenges and experiments.’ EVERY SINGLE DAY is a book by two handsome young gentlemen who offer pathways to finding success and meaning to our lives.
And that bit of background allows the reader to appreciate fully Bradley’s accomplishments as a writer of children/young adult books – such as his series The Li& Lu Books of which this is the fifth installment – DRIEHOEK.

Because this Book 5 follows a period of silence on the series part, Bradley offers a Prologue to update us (or acquaint us, if we are novices to the series). ‘Li & Lu are BACK. They’ve been busy. Moving to Holland, enrolling in new schools, gathering paranormal powers, new basketball teams. Apparently, Lu has been working on his paranormal abilities (who knew!? … that’s a paranormal joke) while Li has been studying … math. I know. I know. Both seem preposterous. But which one sounds more feasible? Both defy conventional wisdom and I personally have no idea. Remember: I’m just the messenger. I wish I could say that I came up with the storylines and weaved them into the perilous suspense thrillers that they have become. But alas, I just “download” the information and it comes through my fingers and onto the page. A few words from Lu. A comment from Li. And we’re off to the races. You see, they are boys. They don’t communicate. Well, not in the way girls do. Most boys use two syllables and call that dialogue. Others, like Lu, can’t be quieted even with an acoustic foam cube. I digress. Li & Lu are back. They’re ready for action. And yet again, the dog. The poor dog. He means well. But he just manages to get into trouble. Then again, he’s a dog. And they are boys. It’s a mathematical certainty that there will be adventure. Li & Lu are going to work together like never before. They’re almost friends. They almost like each other. Almost. Welcome to book number five of Li & Lu.’ 

And so we are off with an interview in a school in Holland (with many Dutch oriented jokes) and then a new adventure: ‘San Francisco held many memories for the boys: burritos in the Mission, In-N-Out Burger visits were a spiritual rebirth every single time. But there was one afternoon that none of the three of them would ever forget. It all had ended well, but it was a test, a scare, maybe even a step along the path from boyhood to manhood. Nothing had been the same since. Their lives had been transformed by the secret that they all held in their hearts and minds since that afternoon back in the city of their birth. The three of them stood on the trail together, shoulder to shoulder. The boys had grown up quite a bit in the couple of years since that fateful afternoon in The City. They rarely uttered the words since that time and it almost became a joke like the wizard in Harry Potter that no one dared utter the name of. There was something about secrets that made them spooky and scary and, when you’re a young pre-teen boy, they carry a lot of weight and although it might mean not telling your friends about what happened long ago, you somehow manage to raise your own standard of respect and keep that secret as much effort as that takes….Had this been a set in Hollywood, complete with leaves falling at just the right time and the colors all so bright that it was almost too perfect, they might have all said the two words at exactly the same time and after a slow fade of the camera to black and it would have been the opening scene of the movie. But this wasn’t Hollywood. This was Driehoek. A small village in the woodsy middle of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. It came from the one of the three who possibly had the deepest love for the black pooch.’ So off we are, searching for a lost dog and a lot of strange incidents that can only be appreciated by reading (and getting into) this wild and fun tale. Bradley has the gift to teach while entertaining! Grady Harp, June 18

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.

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