Book Review | Where’s My Wand?
Author: Eric Poole
I just spent the most amazing two days with, author, Eric Poole. I feel like I have been on a whirlwind tour with Mr. Poole, all from the privacy of my own home because I have just finished reading his book, Where’s My Wand?. Although this book is about Eric’s life, he has added names and some extra bits and pieces here and there, but the story is true account of his voyage of self-discovery.
Where’s My Wand? is about the awkward childhood of the author. We first meet Eric as a 3rd grader living in St. Louis, Missouri in the late 60’s. We quickly learn that Eric’s mother was, at best, a bit obsessive compulsive. The mom, rules the house. The dad is quiet and does not like to make waves. He accepts the verbal abuse from his wife with such grace that I’m sure the hippies of the same era would have been impressed. While the father is playing the part of the anti-war activist in his marriage, the children, Eric and his older sister, Val, try their best to make sense of their surroundings and how best to survive under their current circumstances.
Maybe a disclaimer should be made here that this book has references to homosexuality. I did not know this, as I usually do not read the backs of books, in their entirety, preferring to have even the plot of the book be a surprise. One of my sons pointed to the book and said, “Did you read what that was about?” Well, then, I did read the back, thoroughly, and thought, it’s ok, I can still read it. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that I did not let the underlying theme of this book dissuade me from finishing it.
Today’s media is over-run with messages about homosexuality and our youth are more vocal about its existence than at any other time in history. There can be heated arguments and hurt feelings that run amok, when differing opinions clash on the subject. In Where’s My Wand?, there is none of this type of anger. It did not seem to me that the author had any hidden agenda with this book. While reading this, I felt at many times, like I was looking through 2 way glass, witnessing everything Eric did while, Jean Shepard, the narrator from A Christmas Story, read the story aloud to me. I got the same, “should I be laughing at this” sense of guilt that I get when watching A Christmas Story.
One of my favorite characters in the book is Stacy. Stacy was born with no arms and doesn’t let her physical limitations stop her from anything. She becomes Eric’s friend and bodyguard and squelches much of the bodily and mental harm aimed at Eric. At one point she stands guard with Eric as he does his crossing guard duties. Crossing guards rank right up there with professional tattle tales and is a loathsome duty. Sensing that Eric is nervous about ratting out the offenders who jump on the bridge handrails , Stacy announces that they won’t tattle on them, “We’ll just push ‘em over the edge!”
The highlight of Where’s My Wand? has to be Chapter 4, “High Camp”. This chapter is the account of camping with Aunt Jinny. Now, I am not just saying this, I have never laughed so hard reading a book in my life. Oh, this was a glorious chapter. I have so much in common with Eric and Val, and most of my children, including my son’s, would have had the exact same experience given the same situation.
I loved that throughout the book Eric explained his struggles. He wrestles constantly with his Lot in life; his personality, mannerisms and feelings. To have made it through the ordeals Eric endured, in my opinion, makes him a hero. If you have the opportunity to read this book, don’t think twice, just grab it, read and enjoy. I promise you, you won’t be sorry. I can’t praise this book more without making a total buffoon of myself; you will have to trust me on this one! Just 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.*