JUMPER—THE BOOK

December 8, 2018


Jumper begins with Davey, a child who has spent the entirety of his life being verbally and physically abused by his alcoholic father. When reading the book, I immediately took a very sympathetic stance relative to Davey’s situation. I cannot imagine growing up on a household with this atmosphere.  He and his mother were routinely pummeled by the “man of the house” and the brutality at times was graphic.   When I say graphic, I mean Davey’s mother had to have reconstructive surgery after her last beating.  This is when she left.  When she did leave, unable to deal with the abuse she suffered, it only got worse for him. He was abandoned by the only person in the world who ever cared for him.   He was left with the man who frequently beat him bloody, Davey finally finds escape when he discovers his ability to Jump, or teleport, to any place that he has previously been, and can remember well enough to picture in his mind. He discovers this ability quite by accident.  His mother lies comatose on the kitchen floor, having been beaten by her husband and Davey is lying on the floor with his father on top of him throwing punches.  He visualizes the only safe place he knows—the local public library.  That’s when he first jumps.  He has no idea as to how he did this.  After the beating, he runs away and tries to make a new life for himself. It is definitely not easy for a seventeen-year-old out on his own, with no money, no drivers’ license, no passport, no Social Security number and no birth certificate.  No identification at all. Out of desperation, he finally decides the only way he can survive is to rob a bank using his powers. This happens in the movie as well but is one of the few similarities between the two—very few.  However, where Davey’s desperate circumstances and real need are deeply delved into in the book.   He is forced to steal the money just to survive, promising to himself one day to pay it back, something he actually, eventually does.  With the money he is able to improve his living standards and actually begin to enjoy his young life not having to worry about the abuse.

He meets a girl named Millie, falls in love, and over the course of the novel finds someone who is willing to listen to his story.  This includes all of the horrible, terrible things that he has had to live through, and has kept pent up inside himself his entire life. She urges him to seek out his mother, and he does just that but the result is a terrible event that determines, to some extent, his future.

In my opinion, the book is much much better than the movie.  The characters are vivid and compelling with Davy and Millie trying to determine the method by which Davy is able to teleport. (NOTE: Teleportation is the theoretical transfer of matter or energy from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them.) The book does NOT come to any conclusions but they do establish the fact that there is a portal through which Davy leaps when he jumps.

What Others Think:

I think this is a terrific book but I would like you to read the book and judge for yourself. I also would like to give you what others think.

Mar 17, 2014  Gavin rated it really liked it

I’ve wanted to read this ever since I watched the Jumper movie. Teleportation movies and books are always fun. The biggest surprise is that this book was nothing like the movie. The only thing they had in common was the teleporting main character.

This was a surprisingly dark sci-fi that spent more time pondering moral dilemmas and exploring Davey’s emotional reaction to the various mishaps that befell him than it did on action sequences. The action and the pace did pick up a bit towards the end.

Davey was a tortured soul with a bit of bitterness about him, but for all his faults he was mostly likable.

Overall this was an enjoyable sci-fi read worth a 4-star rating. I’ll definitely read the rest of the books in the series at some point.

Nov 21, 2013  Eric Allen rated it it was amazing

Jumper
By Steven Gould

A Retroview by Eric Allen

When this book came out, back in 1992, I was in my teens, had just finished the latest installment of The Wheel of Time, and I was looking for something else to read. So, I did the thing that all geeks do, and asked the librarian for a recommendation. She handed me Jumper with a wink and told me that I had better hurry because the book was about to be banned at that library. Being a teenaged boy at the time, these were the exact words needed to sell me on it. And I must say, I was really blown away by it. It was a book written for someone my age, that wasn’t afraid to treat me like an adult, showing such things as homosexual child rape, child abuse, alcoholism, graphic terrorist attacks, and it even used the dreaded F word like FOUR WHOLE TIMES!!! No wonder that behind Catcher in the Rye, it is the most banned children’s book in history. A fact that the author is extraordinarily proud of.

Dec 05, 2017  Skip rated it really liked it

Davy Rice has a special gift: the ability to transport himself to any spot he wants, which he discovers when being beaten by his abusive father or about to be raped by a long-haul trucker. He flees his small town, moving to NY, where he settles down after jumping into a bank and taking almost $1 million. He falls in love with a college student in Oklahoma, and eventually decides to find his mother, who deserted him. But disaster strikes and Davy begins to use his gift to find the culprit, drawing the unwanted attention of the NSA and NY Police Department. Improbable, of course, but Davy is a moral, sensitive protagonist, dealing with complex issues.

Sherwood Smith rated it it was amazing

I call it science fiction though the jumping is probably fantasy, but the book is treated like SF. The original book, not the novelisation for the movie, was heart-wrenching, funny, fast-paced, poignant, and so very real in all the good ways, as the teen protagonist discovers he can teleport from place to place, at first to escape his abusive dad. Then he wants to do good . . . and discovers that there are consequences–from both sides.

I’m sorry that the movie appears to have removed all the heart from it, leaving just the violence, without much motivation, judging from the novelization that appeared afterward. No doubt many readers liked it, but that was not my cup of tea.

CONCLUSIONS:

As I mentioned above, read the book and determine for yourself if it’s a winner.  Easy to read, three hundred and forty-five (345) pages double-spaced.  Good night’s work.

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READ THE GOOD BOOKS FIRST

November 22, 2018


I had a marvelous literature teacher my senior year in high school.  Her name was Mrs. Robinson. Can’t remember her first name; we never used it anyway.  Mrs. Robinson repeatedly told us to “read the good books first—then read them again”.  She meant later on in our lives, probably adult lives.  Okay, what is your definition of a “good book”?  I have a very simple approach to this.  Take a look at your son, daughter or grandchild’s summer reading assignments.  The books they were supposed to read throughout the summer.  The ones there may or may not be Cliff Notes for.  These are just some of the “good books” determined to be timeless.  What we may call the classics.  Some old—some new, but the ones used to demonstrate writing style and prose uncommon relative to our modern writers.  We are inflicted with books today, not all mind you, but some that represent throw away literature. Once read never to be re-read.  Basically, time wasting garbage.

While cleaning out our attic this past summer, I found several boxes of books our sons were instructed to read during their time in high school.  I’m going to briefly talk about one right now—“Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe”.

BIOGRAPHY:

Given below is a portrait of Mr. Poe probably made in his late thirties.

Edgar Allan Poe is undoubtedly one the greatest and most-recognized American authors in our countries history although his life was not a bed or roses by any stretch of the imagination.

Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. Poe’s father and mother, both professional actors, died before he was three years old.   John and Frances Allan raised him as a foster child in Richmond, Virginia thus giving him his middle name.  John Allan, a prosperous tobacco exporter, sent Poe to the best boarding schools and later to the University of Virginia, where he excelled academically. After less than one year of school, however, he was forced to leave the university when Allan refused to pay Poe’s gambling debts.  Poe returned briefly to Richmond, but his relationship with Allan deteriorated and in 1827, he moved to Boston where he enlisted in the United States Army. His first collection of poems, Tamerlane, and Other Poems, was published that year. In 1829, he published a second collection entitled Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. Neither volume received significant critical or public attention. Following his Army service, Poe was admitted to the United States Military Academy, but he was again forced to leave for lack of financial support. He then moved into the home of his aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia in Baltimore, Maryland.

Poe began to sell short stories to magazines at around this time, and, in 1835, he became the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, where he moved with his aunt and cousin Virginia. In 1836, he married Virginia, who was thirteen years old at the time. (This was a great shock to me and I had no idea Poe ever married much less someone of such a very young age.)  Over the next ten years, Poe would edit a number of literary journals including the Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia and the Broadway Journal in New York City. It was during these years that he established himself as a poet, a short story writer, and an editor. He published some of his best-known stories and poems, including “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and “The Raven.” After Virginia’s death from tuberculosis in 1847, Poe’s lifelong struggle with depression and alcoholism worsened. He returned briefly to Richmond in 1849 and then set out for an editing job in Philadelphia. For unknown reasons, he stopped in Baltimore. On October 3, 1849, he was found in a state of semi-consciousness. Poe died four days later of “acute congestion of the brain.” Evidence by medical practitioners who reopened the case has shown that Poe may have been suffering from rabies.  A tragic end to a great writer.

The following short stories are in the book I just mentioned:

  • Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • The Purloined Letter
  • The Tall-Tale Heart
  • The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdermar
  • The Pit and the Pendulum
  • The Tale of the Ragged Mountains
  • A Descent into the Maelstrom
  • The Black Cat
  • “Thou Art the Man”
  • Metzengerstein

It became very obvious as to why his works are considered classic.  The writing style is very much unlike the style of any America writer.  His ability to keep the reader in suspense is remarkable.  The manner in which he describes a specific chain of events using the English language must be considered legendary.  He is a marvelous “word-smith” putting together sentence after sentence demonstrating his “high-class” writing ability.

Mrs. Robinson was absolutely correct when she told us to read the good books first.


I don’t subscribe to the magazine Gentlemen’s’ Quarterly so I never actually read the publication but one news story really caught my attention.  GQ has published an article entitled “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read”.  To their credit, they do indicate what books would be preferable for each of the twenty-one removed from the “reading list”.  Let’s take a look:

  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  • Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Ambassadors by Henry James
  • The Bible
  • Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Life by Keith Richards
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

I was really surprised to see the Bible on the list even though this is a “progressive” magazine.  Here is the logic behind removing it and basically indicating it is of no use to “modern man”.

The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof’s The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower. —Jesse Ball, ‘Census’

This is one man’s opinion but certainly not mine. Eric Metaxas and G. Shane Morris of Breakpoint.org state the following relative to the GQ article: “Seldom have I seen an example of the blind leading the blind as blatant as this article.  Condemned were such classics as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, and the “Lord of the Rings”.  The magazine’s editors describe these beloved titles variously as racist, sexist and just really, really boring. “

The average number of books each person reads on a yearly basis is twelve (12)…but that number is inflated by the most avid readers. The most frequently reported number was four (4) books per year. Of course, there’s plenty of variation among demographics. Certain groups read more, or less, than the country as a whole. Here’s what the data showed:

Educated, affluent women read the most.

Women tend to read more than men. About seventy-seven (77) percent of American women read at least one book in 2015, compared with sixty-seven (67) percent of American guys. Also, the average woman reads fourteen (14) books in a twelve-month span, while the average man read only nine.  Across both genders, readership also went up with education and income. About ninety (90) percent of college grads read at least one book a year, compared to thirty-four (34) percent of people who haven’t finished high school. Also, the more money they earned, the likelier they were to be readers. It’s hard to say whether education and income are causes of this trend, since people who go to college probably grow up reading more anyway, and income correlates with education. But the bottom line is that educated, high-earning women sit atop the reading pyramid in America.

Older people read less.

One notable aspect of the data is that people tend to read less as they age. Fully eighty (80) percent of 18–29-year-olds reported reading at least one book, compared to sixty-nine (69) percent of seniors sixty-five and older.

I was told years ago—ALWAYS READ THE GOOD BOOKS FIRST.  The classics and those authors that can really “pack a punch”.  There are several great books not on the list.  The twelve novels considered to be the greatest novels ever written are:

  • Anna Karenina
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Great Gatsby
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • A Passage to India
  • Invisible Man
  • Don Quixote
  • Beloved
  • Dalloway
  • Things Fall Apart
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Color Purple 

I’m really happy GQ has given us permission to read the twelve books considered to be the best ever written.  Give me hope in the future 😊

As always, please give me your opinion.


Mom and Dad taught us how to read so why have I not heard about, until now, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability Index?  I suppose better late than never.  Let’s take a look.

Rudolph Flesch, an author, writing consultant, and the supporter of Plain English Movement, is the co-author of this formula along with John P. Kincaid, thus the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability Test. Raised in Austria, Flesch studied law and earned a Ph.D. in English from the Columbia University. Flesch, through his writings and speeches, advocated a return to phonics. In his article, A New Readability Yardstick, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 1948, Flesch proposed the Reading Ease Readability Formula.

In the mid-seventies, the US Navy was looking for a method to measure the difficulty of technical manuals and documents used by Navy personnel.  These manuals were used for training on hardware and software installed on ships and land-based equipment.  Test results are not immediately meaningful and to make sense of the score requires the aid of a conversion table. So, the Flesch Reading Ease test was revisited and, along with other readability tests, the formula was amended to be more suitable for use in the Navy. The new calculation was the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (1975).  The methodology is given as follows:

Grade level classifications are based on the attainment of participants in the norming group on which the test was given.  The grade represents norming group participants’ typical score. So, if a piece of text has a grade level readability score of six (6), this is equivalent in difficulty to the average reading level of the norming group who were at grade six (6 ) when they took the test. This test rates text on a U.S. school grade level. For example, a score of 8.0 means an eighth grader can understand the document. For most documents, aim for a score of approximately 7.0 to 8.0.

The actual formula and classification of the individual grades may be seen below:

Now, with that out of the way, President Donald Trump—who boasted over the weekend that his success in life was a result of “being, like, really smart”—communicates at the lowest grade level of the last 15 presidents, according to a new analysis of the speech patterns of presidents going back to Herbert Hoover. 

 

I want to come to President Trump’s defense, somewhat, as an employee at General Electric, we were told to write our Use and Care Manuals at a fifth (5th) grade level AND use plenty of pictures—plenty of pictures.  This President will probably never win an award for public speaking, and he communicates in a rather unique manner:  He does get his point across.

The very painful fact is that we have basically slaughtered the “King’s English” and our presidents are playing to a much less sophisticated audience than ever before.  The following chart will explain.

Sad—very sad.

As always, I welcome your comments.

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