Book Review – Chance by Mark Feder

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aboutbook

Published:  October 12th 2013

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Pages: Paperback, 162 pages

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AMAZONBARNES AND NOBLEBOOK DEPOSITORY

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Chance is a novel about Jeremy Chance, a mishap-prone twelve-year-old with an ailing mother, an irascible father and a benevolent grandfather, who is trying to make sense of some unusual occurrences and curious coincidences. The activities, perceptions and concerns of a pre-adolescent boy coping with difficulties at home and at school are explored through comic and serious episodes, as Jeremy learns more about himself and his place in the world. Slices of school life, strange dreams, forays into literary analysis, cold war history, and culinary interludes are blended together in this tale of self-discovery for young adult readers. A free teacher’s companion to the novel with lesson ideas for teachers as well as other resources for all readers is available at chance.kwansoon.com.

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An Oddly Fascinating and Thought-Provoking Coming of Age Story

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Chance by Mark Feder was an interestingly thought-provoking read that left me with mixed feelings. but in an oddly good way.

This book was weirdly fascinating, occasional humorous, and quite entertaining. It was easy to read, the pacing was good, the characters were quirky and likable, and the plot was intriguing. However, I found myself having a difficult time connecting with the story and Jeremy. The writing style was decent, but some of the dialogue didn’t flow that well and there seemed to be a lot of “telling” rather than feeling and experiencing the story. There were also a few interactions between Jeremy and the other characters that were quite bizarre and some parts just seemed unrealistic and absurd. That being said, I did think the story was unique and quite amusing. I also really liked the way the author addressed many important themes about life and how that had me thinking. So, while I may have a bit of mixed feelings about this novel, I think there were contemplative aspects about Jeremy’s story that was worth reading.

This book was fun in its own way. There’s plenty of lighthearted situations that I thought was entertaining, awkward experiences the younger audience can relate with, and thought-provoking issues. Overall, Chance by Mark Feder was a uniquely interesting coming of age story.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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favoritequotes

The are some mysteries in life that we never figure out. We just have to learn to live with them — and maybe even enjoy them.

We are surrounded by great mysteries all the time — we just forget that they are mysteries.

The good and bad things in life were all woven together in a fabric that was rich and beautiful.

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Taken from the author’s website

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Here’s a brief geographical summary of my life: I was born and went to school in the Bronx and attended CCNY, a few stops away on the D-train. Starting as a biology major, I took Latin to fulfill my language requirement and then, attracted to the literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans (as well as put off by the math required for science), I transitioned from north campus to south and majored in classics and linguistics. At the end of my sophomore year, I took my first trip abroad to attend a summer program on the Greek island of Poros.

I spent much of junior year bemoaning my return to drab New York and before the end of the spring semester returned to Europe with no particular plan beyond traveling. Having no money was a bit of a drawback, but I managed to wend my way from Luxembourg down to Greece, hitchhiking and taking trains when necessary. Meeting up with other tapped-out young travelers along the way – it was the era of hippie migrations – I learned that one could earn room and board on an Israeli kibbutz without having working papers, and that’s where I headed.

I had a Jewish upbringing and attended Yeshiva for eight years, but Israel wasn’t high on my list of places to visit. While I wasn’t in any sense a hippie – I was traveling with a valise, not a backpack, had short hair, and hadn’t yet experimented with illicit drugs – I was taken with my fellow travelers’ tales and dreams of seeing such exotic places as Katmandu, Goa and Timbuktu.

I lived on a couple of kibbutzim and then moved to Jerusalem. After scraping up some money, I bought a boat ticket back to Greece and briefly visited a famed hippie retreat, the caves of Matala in Crete. Hitchhiking north through what was then Yugoslavia, I found I had contracted hepatitis. Unimpressed with the hospitals in Zagreb and Ljubliana, I opted for Switzerland instead.

Through the kind help of a doctor at the hospital I stayed at, I worked for the next half year as an orderly in a psychiatric hospital and almost decided to stay in Switzerland and become a nurse. I ended up returning to New York, moving to Brooklyn and finishing my BA degree. From there it was off to graduate school in Iowa, ending up trying to eke out an existence on a five-acre plot of land.

From there it was off to Liberia, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. It was there my career as an English language teacher began. I got to travel to Senegal, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. Never did make it to Timbuktu but got as far as Mopti and Bandiagara. I returned to the US with the idea of spending the rest of my life traveling and teaching English, and to that end enrolled in a program in Vermont to get an MA in TESL. After a brief internship in Mexico and a short-term job in Boston, I embarked for South Korea where a teaching job awaited.

After three years in Korea, I returned to the US with my wife and eighteen-month-old daughter and found a job with an intensive English program in North Carolina. Shortly after the birth of our second daughter, I was transferred to Colorado where we lived for the next two decades. Our latest move, several years ago, brought us to Oregon where we now reside.

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Thanks for visiting and reading. Hope you have a fantastic day!!!

sincerelykjologo

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