Book Review | Stan’s Leap
Title: Stan’s Leap
Author: Tom Duerig
When I first heard about Stan’s Leap by Tom Duerig, I was very obsessed with the TV show LOST. The setting for Stan’s Leap, Henderson Island, is real and resides 5,000 kilometers from any other location. Duerig strands his colorful cast of characters on this island, forcing them to make alliances, form new romantic relationships, and develop a new way of life.
Stan’s Leap begins with Jenny and Stan, a newly married couple, about to embark on a dream vacation to a secretive island resort known as New Eden. Jenny is completely excited about this trip, which will hardly cost them a dime. Stan, on the other hand, has reservations, but wants to be accommodating to his new wife. Jenny is pregnant at the time, but the vacation is only to last a few weeks. Their hosts and the other vacationers don’t need to know about the pregnancy.
Once they arrive on the island, they are handed over to the care of Nani and Kimo. They abandon their worldly possessions in order to live a more authentic island experience, mimicking the Polynesians who long ago inhabited the island. Then a storm happens, unlike any storm the vacationers have ever witnessed before. When the plane never returns to take them back home, the islanders find themselves without a way to communicate with the rest of civilization. As they wait for a rescue that might never come, they wonder if they are the only ones in the entire world left alive.
Readers who enjoyed watching Survivor or LOST will thoroughly enjoy reading Stan’s Leap. Like those two TV shows, the islanders fight with one another, fall in and out of love with each other, “die” (or get voted off the island), and give birth. At the beginning of the novel, there are a lot of characters to keep track off. I constantly referred back to the passenger list so I could remember who was who in each of the various couples. Only a few characters got lots of page time, while others were referred to sparingly. Then when they came up again, I had already forgotten who they were. By the end, only a few of the original islanders are left, though a new generation has been born of their couplings.
The book is divided into several sections, the first told in third person, and the second and third told in first person from two different character’s perspectives. I found the switch a bit jarring, and would have liked it better if the first section had also been told from one of the Elder’s point of views, particularly Stan since the book is named after him.
Stan’s Leap couldn’t have been an easy feat to write, but Duerig writes accessibly and skillfully, even when writing about technology, sailing, and engineering. Part of the reason I think I put off reading this for so long was because I expected I would not like it. Surprisingly, I did enjoy it, even though it took me awhile to get through. There were a bit more punctuation and spacing errors than I would have liked to have seen, but overall the content of this book is pretty impressive.
I hope that Duerig is currently working on another book, because I’d love to read it!
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*